Keating, MacNeil journey Le Mans momentum to Watkins Glen
Two drivers in Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen are coming into the race on a excessive from podium finishes within the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ben Keating and Cooper MacNeil completed first and second, respectively, within the GTE-AM class within the granddaddy of endurance races two weekends in the past, and wish to repeat or enhance on that success this weekend within the seventh spherical of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
“I’ve simply been using a excessive all week lengthy,” stated Keating, who took his first — official — class victory at Le Mans within the TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage with Henrique Chaves and Marco Sorensen. “It’s nonetheless a bit bit surreal, particularly given the main points that occurred in 2019. I’m nonetheless coping with some PTSD over that. It’s nonetheless type of surreal that we did it once more, and this one has caught.”
Keating gained the GTE-AM race on monitor with a Ford GT in 2019, however the automobile was disqualified for having a 0.1L higher gasoline capability than the principles allowed.
Keating shall be contesting the Six Hours, as he has within the different IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup races, within the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 automobile with Mikkel Jensen and Scott Huffaker. The trio gained the 12 Hours of Sebring and are main the IMEC factors. Whereas the LMP2 automobile and the Aston Martin GTE automobile are very completely different beasts, Keating says he has little bother adjusting and learns issues from every.
“The perfect instance I can consider is Sebring, the place I used to be actually, actually pleased with my qualifying in each sequence . That was a kind of conditions the place I discovered so much that I used to be ready to make use of in every automobile,” he defined. “I discovered so much about how you can go rapidly round that specific monitor at that specific time, and I used to be ready to make use of it between each automobiles. And I actually, actually get pleasure from driving each the LMP2 automobile and the GTE automobile.”
MacNeil shall be driving a distinct automobile than he raced at Le Mans as effectively, however sticking with the GT theme. After ending second in a GTE Porsche at Le Mans, MacNeil shall be again within the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 in GTD PRO for Watkins Glen, partnering with Maro Engel and Mikael Grenier.
A few points knocked MacNeil and firm off successful stride at Le Mans, however they took loads of positives away from the 24 Hours.
“It was an important race for us and the crew,” he stated. “Clearly we wished to win the race however we had a couple of issues that set us again, together with a entrance brake change that we needed to do within the early morning on Sunday that the Aston Martin didn’t should do, so we misplaced a while there. In addition to being extraordinarily unfortunate but once more with the protection automobiles. It’s distinctive to Le Mans as a result of there are three security automobiles, so until you’re proper with the chief, you may get separated fairly rapidly and simply by means of no fault of your personal — which is precisely what occurred to us, dropping nearly 4 minutes due to the way in which the protection automobiles fell. So, fairly the comeback to complete second place. Fairly pleased with that. Clearly you need to win the race, however any time you’re on the rostrum at Le Mans is kind of particular. So some good momentum for the crew, for myself, going into Watkins Glen.”
After all, the flip aspect to Keating and MacNeil are Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor. The Corvette Racing GTE-PRO automobiles had been fast at Le Mans, qualifying first and second, and working on the entrance till Taylor and Garcia’s No. 63 that they shared with Nicky Catsburg struck mechanical issues. Then the No. 64 of Nick Tandy, Tommy Milner and Alexander Sims was taken out Sunday morning whereas main.
“It was clearly a shock,” stated Garcia. “It’s been some time since we retired from such an enormous race like this. Le Mans has all the time been robust for everybody, however I didn’t count on to retire earlier than going into Sunday. Disappointing on one hand, however alternatively, I used to be pleased with the efficiency.”
Luckily for Garcia, the No. 3 GTD PRO Corvette he’ll race on Sunday with Taylor is a distinct automobile in a distinct configuration, and the crew already has an endurance racing victory this season at Sebring.
The Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen will get the inexperienced flag at 10:40 a.m. ET on Sunday, with the the complete race (in addition to Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session), streamed stay on Peacock. USA Community protection of the Six Hour begins at 3 p.m. ET.