Ahead of this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, the business duo of Ben Keating and Giuseppe Risi have joined forces to compete under the Keating Motorsport/Risi Competizione racing banner as they strive for LM GTE Am success.
Keating will be joined by Jeroen Bleekmolen and Luca Stolz in the cockpit of the #85 Ferrari 488 GTE for the 24-hour event.
Race engineer for the team, Rick Mayer, expressed the importance of the Le Mans test this weekend. With the Circuit de la Sarthe being constructed predominantly of public roads, the only time running is available on the full circuit is when official tests / sessions are hosted. This weekend will prove invaluable to all the teams competing in this year’s Le Mans as they will collect track specific data for their cars.
Talking about their plans for the test this weekend, Mayer said: “Telemetry coverage, we hope, will be near perfect this year; we had good coverage last year. Radio and telemetry coverage are always a concern here as the track covers so much area.
“It takes nearly 15 minutes just to do one timed lap if you include the ‘out’ and ‘in’ laps.
“We have a total of eight hours of practice time for the Test day but the number of actual practice laps is low in comparison to a normal USA (or European) sprint race because of the long lap time.
“It almost always rains in testing and/or the race, just hope you have the setup and other essential testing sorted in the dry running.”
The Keating / Risi team will be in a field of tough competition this year, with 13 other cars in their class fighting for glory. The test will probably not show any of the Am-entries true pace as the BoP has not been locked down yet, meaning that this could change before the prestigious event in June.
With only two four-hour sessions available for testing before the cars return to the French circuit for the main event, each moment will be precious to teams.
They will be striving to achieve the perfect set up and have all three drivers content with the feel of the car before the chequered flag.
With a limit on tyres as well, this also presents itself as a good chance for teams to begin to gather an understanding of how the tyres will wear on their cars.
The Keating / Risi team will be focusing predominantly on race set up this weekend, wanting to have the car ready to go racing by the end of the test so that they can show up to race week and only focus on finding pace and going fast.
They hope to have a good test, ending with a reliable car, so that they can use the remaining few weeks between now at the main race to work on strategy and show up to Le Mans in mid June fully ready to take on the 24-hour challenge.