After such a close and consistent race, the win was taken away from Keating Motorsport at 22:25 on the 17th June, a little over 24 hours after the race had finished.
It seemed that in the closing stages of this eventful 24 hours of Le Mans that the odds had been stacked against the Keating Motorsport Ford GT which had been leading for the majority of the race. First came the call from the stewards that the nose of the car should be replaced due to damage, damage which had been caused early on in the race and patched up.
Then what most are calling a dubious stop and go penalty for wheel spinning when leaving their pit box reduced the comfortable lead to only 5 seconds from the Project 1 Porsche. Ben Keating kept this gap during his final stint, until Jerone got in the car, eventually bringing it home well in front of the Porsche.
It was not until last night (17th June) things started to come from the stewards that the fuel rig had been delivering 0.6 seconds less fuel than the mandated 45 seconds minimum per stop. This cost the team a 55.2 time penalty added to their race time, moving them into 2nd place, then devastating news - the car had been disqualified from the race.
The reason given was that the fuel tank was found to be too large for the regulations by 100ml and so not within the rules. We have been able to speak with Ben Keating about this today, and he told us that the tolerances with the tank were too close and that the calculations with the fuel rig were out.
Jeroen said on social media “A rollercoaster full of emotions. It took us 24 hours to win the race, took 24 hours to get disqualified and it took me 24 hours to move on. Was very hard to take this one in. But very proud of the race we have done. Rules are rules and we didn’t comply. Let’s come back stronger and make sure the result still counts Monday night after the race next time. Big thanks to the whole team! Can’t wait to go back out there.”
We have no doubt that Keating Motorsport ran the car as close to the rules as possible, maybe just a little too close on this occasion - but this does not diminish their absolutely fantastic race run and great team spirt. We hope to see them again in 2020.