This weekend marks Ben Keating’s fifth outing to the Circuit de la Sarthe and also his fifth different marque. But this time the 3rd generation Ford dealer is racing with the Ford GT… Ben took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to chat with Prescott Motorsport.
“This is a special event for me… My Grandfather was a Ford dealer, my Father also; my first job out of college was selling Ford’s and my first business was a Ford dealership. Racing this car at this race is more special than anything else I have ever done at this track, and to race alongside the Ford team just adds to this, add on top of that the partnership with Wynn’s – well…”
We asked could this be the pinnacle of his racing career so far: “Sure, I don’t see how I could top this, but come 3pm on Sunday… who knows!”
Coming into Le Mans with a new car to the class inevitably brings its own challenges, one of which is the balance of performance (BOP) applied to the car by the ACO in an attempt to bring the cars closer together in competitive terms. Responding to a recent article, Ben said “I am less concerned with the performance of the Ford than that of our competitors.” He continued ”The only thing I care about in our speed is is it relative to that of our competitors? Historically in 2018 the fastest laps were done by a Ferrari, and now in 2019 they have less weight and more power so I assume they will be quicker than 2018. I have no doubt we can get to the times set by the other cars in this years test.”
During the test Ben told us “We were 16thout of 17 cars at the test, but if you average all 3 drivers best lap times of all the teams we were P8 – we have a good driver line up and if we are consistently quick we have a shot at it.”
When asked whether the Ford GT will be a regular sight going forward Ben remained tight lipped wishing to concentrate on the week ahead but, he did say “It’s possible… (but) it makes no sense to run the car in IMSA as it would be against the pro teams in GT LM, it limits the places where the car can be run, but one-off races here and there is an option!”
Ben has considered the FIA World Endurance Championship as a full season but as yet he has not submitted an entry…