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VIDEO: Ben Keating’s Massive Fire

Ben Keating escapes injury in massive blaze in opening hour…

Ben Keating escaped injury following a massive fire to his Viper GT3-R in the opening hour of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

The No. 33 Riley Motorsports entry became engulfed in flames while under the first full-course caution of the race.

Keating pulled over by Turn 6 and bailed out of the GT3-based contender and watched as he waited for fire crews to arrive.

“I looked in my rearview mirror and it was like Back to the Future,” Keating said. “I saw the two streaks of flames coming out of the back of the car in the camera before there was any smoke.

“So I got on the radio and said, ‘Guys I’m on fire. I’m getting out.’ I hit the fire button, hopped out, and realized I still heard them in the helmet going, ‘Ben get out, Ben get out.’

“I realized I was still plugged in, reached back in and pulled out my radio. There was no flames or smoke inside the car when I got out. No smoke inhalation, no burns, no issues other than a melted car.”

The fire took more than 10 minutes to extinguish and put the race under a 59-minute safety car period.

“I’m guessing right now, but my guess is that I had a half-shaft break and obviously tore something up back in the back,” Keating added. “My power had gone, no drive, and now that I think about it, I bet it knocked off the fuel line.

“My guess is it knocked off the fuel line because I didn’t have any power and I was sitting there trying to start it, feeding, fueling the fire, no pun intended.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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