Keating Ford GT announced for Le Mans
Ben Keating will become the first customer to run a Ford GT worldwide. The Texan’s Keating Motorsports program was confirmed as part of the initial 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans entry list on Monday, with the No. 85 Ford GT confirmed for the GTE-Am class.
This will mark Keating’s fifth straight Le Mans and with a fifth different car. The previous four years has seen him in an SRT Viper GTS-R, Oreca 03R and Riley Multimatic LMP2 cars and last year, a Ferrari 488 GTE entered in partnership with Risi Competizione.
As he does in IMSA, Keating will share this car with Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga. The trio, plus fourth driver Luca Stolz, dominated the Rolex 24 At Daytona but were unlucky to finish only sixth after the rain hit there. They were the top-scoring GT Daytona class entrant in the Michelin Endurance Cup, though, in their No. 33 Wynn’s Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Keating is one of two IMSA auto invite entries confirmed today. The other is Cooper MacNeil, whose WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 GTE was also entered in GTE-Am.
OTHER ENTRIES ANNOUNCED
These two were part of eight total automatic invitations already set for Le Mans to make up 42 of the 60 starters. Others include G-Drive Racing and RLR M-Sport in LMP2. In GTE-Am, there are four other new cars. New additions are the Kessel Racing and JMW Motorsport Ferraris, and total of two more Proton Competition Porsches.
All but two of the FIA World Endurance Championship’s Super Season entries were also announced. The pair of Ginetta LMP1s were not listed on this initial release.
The remaining 18 cars, plus 10 reserves, will be revealed on March 1 following the conclusion of the Asian Le Mans Series season. ACO officials confirmed they’d received 75 applications for 60 spots.