Keating, Bleekemolen and Viper Exchange score repeat win Saturday at Circuit of The Americas

Come-from-behind victory second-in-a-row in Texas for ViperExchange.com and third-straight at COTA for Keating

Keating, Bleekemolen and Viper Exchange score repeat win Saturday at Circuit of The Americas
#33 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper GT3-R: Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen
#33 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper GT3-R: Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen
Overall podiums: P winners #01 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford/Riley: Scott Pruett, Joey Hand, PC winners #54 CORE autosport Oreca FLM09: Jon Bennett, Colin Braun, GTLM winners #25 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE: Bill Auberlen, Dirk Werner and GTD winners #33 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper GT3-R: Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen
#63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia: Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell
#33 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper GT3-R: Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen
#33 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper GT3-R: Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen
#33 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper GT3-R: Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen
#33 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper GT3-R: Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen
#90 VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP: Richard Westbrook, Michael Valiante
#33 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper GT3-R: Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen
#33 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper GT3-R: Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen
#33 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper GT3-R: Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen

Austin, Texas – Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and the No. 33 ViperExchange.com/Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R team scored a come-from-behind victory in Saturday’s Lone Star Le Mans IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race at Circuit of The Americas (COTA).

The hard-earned win was the second of the season for Keating, Bleekemolen and ViperExchange.com and their second-straight at COTA after driving the No. 33 to victory in last year’s Lone Star Le Mans.

The win also gave Keating a personal “three-peat” at COTA as the back-to-back Viper victories were preceded by his 2013 victory in a Porsche in IMSA ALMS GTC competition.

“We’re just so excited,” Keating said. “We won the last ALMS race here in 2013. We won the first IMSA TUDOR race here last year but I just didn’t think we had the car that would win today. My guess is we were the fifth or sixth fastest car here today, but the race came to us and I’m just happy to be on the top step again. I had 50 guests here, the whole Viper Club of Texas was across the way. It’s just super exciting.”

Some cars spun, some cars had penalties, some cars did the wrong thing for strategy and I overtook a few, so it was a really nice race and pure racing,

Jeroen Bleekemolen

The win was far from easy after the No. 33 was hit with a penalty after the first pit stops just 30 minutes into the race. Keating inadvertently drove through a red light at the pit exit and was brought back in for a 60-second stop-and-hold penalty.

Keating returned to the race on the lead lap but was 10th in the GT Daytona (GTD) class well behind the leaders. He ripped off a string of quick race laps throughout his second stint and handed the Viper off to Bleekemolen during a well-timed yellow flag pit stop.

Bleekemolen rejoined the race in eighth and soon raced his way into the top five. He advanced to fourth and could see the race leader and the second and third place cars in front of him as the race entered its final hour.

“It was great,” Bleekemolen said. “For me, it was one of the most exciting races I’ve done because I came in the car pretty far in the back but after a yellow we were all together and had some great fights.”

Bleekemolen’s charge to the front included an action-packed two laps 45 minutes from the finish when he jumped from fourth to first, taking a lead he would hold until the finish.

“Some cars spun, some cars had penalties, some cars did the wrong thing for strategy and I overtook a few, so it was a really nice race and pure racing,” Bleekemolen said. “I had to fight so hard and it feels so much better if you come out on top.”

The victory was the second for the ViperExchange.com No. 33 in the last three races after winning for the first time this season at Road America in August.

The ViperExchange.com team is run by Riley Motorsports while its affiliated company, Riley Technologies, designed and built the Viper GT3-R.

“It was a great win today,” said Bill Riley (center in picture), Riley Motorsports Team Director. “We had an issue with the penalty early but then we just kept pushing. The race came to us and a lot of people had a hard time. After we had our issue, we were just like clockwork, so it was clear sailing.”

Next up for ViperExchange.com and the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is the season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, October 1 – 3.

“We hope to finish the championship in a strong way,” Bleekemolen said. “It isn’t done, but we’re pretty far behind after some bad races early in the season, so realistically we just have to give it our all and see where we can finish. We have to try and win another one.”

Viper Exchange

shares
comments
Risi Competizione Scores Podium For Ferrari In Austin

Previous article

Risi Competizione Scores Podium For Ferrari In Austin

Next article

Chip Ganassi Racing adds Dixon to Petit Le Mans lineup

Chip Ganassi Racing adds Dixon to Petit Le Mans lineup
Load comments

About this article

Series IMSA
Event Austin
Sub-event Saturday post-race
Location Circuit of the Americas
Drivers Ben Keating , Jeroen Bleekemolen
Teams Riley Motorsports
Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy Prime

Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy

Can Mazda win this year’s IMSA Prototype championship? Undoubtedly. But it will be the culmination of an achingly hard struggle, after which the brand has decided to quit. David Malsher-Lopez tells the story of a bizarre blend of heartache and positivity.

IMSA
Apr 6, 2021
The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC Prime

The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s decision to scrap its GT Le Mans class for 2022 raises the question of whether the FIA World Endurance Championship should phase out GTE cars. But it's a much harder decision than it appears on the surface.

WEC
Feb 3, 2021
Nine things to watch at the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona Prime

Nine things to watch at the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona

After a 100-minute sprint race to whet the appetite, the 2021 IMSA SportsCar Championship gets underway properly this weekend. With plenty of significant changes during the winter, here are the key points you need to keep an eye on

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars Prime

Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars

Having gone over seven years without a race win through spells with McLaren, Renault and Haas, Kevin Magnussen's departure from Formula 1 for IMSA with big-hitters Chip Ganassi Racing could give him what he craves most - a chance of success

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights Prime

Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights

Oliver Gavin has stepped down from the full-time Corvette Racing line-up after a stellar career with the team spanning nearly 20 years. He looks back on a stint that encompassed, among other successes, five Le Mans 24 Hours victories.

Le Mans
Jan 28, 2021
How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends Prime

How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends

Victory at last year's Spa 24 Hours meant Nick Tandy had completed the unofficial sextuple crown of the world's six biggest endurance races, becoming the first Briton to do so. Ahead of his fresh start with Corvette Racing, he explains how he did it…

Le Mans
Jan 24, 2021
The 12 greatest Sebring 12 Hours ranked Prime

The 12 greatest Sebring 12 Hours ranked

The 2020 edition of the Florida sportscar classic is finally taking place this weekend, eight months after its traditional date in March. That meant there was plenty of time for Motorsport.com to pour over its previous 67 races and select the best.

IMSA
Nov 11, 2020
Tony Kanaan’s top 10 races – in his own words Prime

Tony Kanaan’s top 10 races – in his own words

The 2004 IndyCar champion and 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan probably hasn’t yet driven his final IndyCar race, but we still asked him for the 10 most significant races of his career. He explained his choices to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Sep 7, 2020