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Keating: “Several Options” for 24H Le Mans GTE-Am Effort

Ben Keating finalizing 24 Hours of Le Mans plans for GTE-Am entry…

Photo: Ferrari

Keating Motorsports has yet to finalize its 24 Hours of Le Mans plans, with “several options” on the table for its GTE-Am effort, according to team owner Ben Keating.

The Texan, who was awarded an auto invite to the French endurance classic courtesy of his Bob Akin Award from the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, has revealed that he’s in discussions with multiple teams.

Keating joined forces with Risi Competizione in last year’s race, finishing third in class alongside co-drivers Jeroen Bleekemolen and Luca Stolz in a Risi-prepared Ferrari 488 GTE car.

While a return with the Houston-based team appeared to initially be in the cards for 2019, Keating indicated that other options remain on the table, with a decision needing to be made imminently. 

“We’re looking at several options,” Keating told Sportscar365.

“I had an unbelievably good experience last year. We had a great car and an opportunity to win and a great team. I would happily go back to Le Mans with Risi again.

“We are still in discussions with several teams trying to figure out what makes the most sense for everybody. We’ll see what happens.”

Keating said the current plan is for he and Bleekemolen to return as drivers, joined by a yet-to-be-confirmed Silver-rated third driver in the GTE-Am entry.

Stolz, who joined the duo for the podium finish last year, has since been upgraded to Gold rating by the FIA, although it’s unclear if the event will honor 2018 or 2019 driver ratings for the WEC 2018-19 season finale.

A final decision on Keating’s operations partner will need to be made by the the ACO’s Jan. 31 entry deadline.

“I’m hoping to get something figured out this weekend,” Keating said. “I’ve got lots of meetings scheduled here [at the Roar Before the Rolex 24], hoping to get it all figured out.”

Fellow IMSA entrant WeatherTech Racing, which has inherited the sanctioning body’s second auto-invite, is also yet to finalize its plans for the race although it’s believed the Cooper MacNeil-driven entry will likely be run by Scuderia Corsa.

Risi, meanwhile, is understood to be evaluating a return to the GTE-Pro class at Le Mans, which could come in addition to the possible Keating entry.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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