"Heroic" Keating to thank for Project 1 Bahrain win

A "heroic" triple stint from Ben Keating was the basis for Project 1 Racing's FIA World Endurance Championship victory in Bahrain, says Jeroen Bleekemolen.

"Heroic" Keating to thank for Project 1 Bahrain win
Listen to this article

The #57 Porsche 911 RSR shared by Keating, Bleekemolen and Larry ten Voorde - making a second WEC appearance standing in for the absent Felipe Fraga - romped to GTE Am honours in the extra-points race on Saturday, leading 182 out of 233 laps.

Bronze-rated Keating took the start from pole and stayed in the car for three full stints, putting the team on a diverging pit schedule to its class rivals and ultimately saving it a pitstop.

That meant the American and his teammates finished 37 seconds clear of the factory Aston Martin Vantage GTE of Paul Dalla Lana, Ross Gunn and Darren Turner in second.

Reflecting on his first WEC win, Keating said: "I did not expect it for sure. But with the additional points in the longer race, this was an important one for us.

"We had the whole strategy worked out, where we would get my 2 hours 20 minutes [minimum driving time] done, but that gave us a need to do a stop with 15 minutes to go.

"We didn’t get any of the full-course yellows in the first couple of hours that we expected. We only needed one and it didn’t happen, it kind of changed our strategy.

"I ended up doing a triple stint in the beginning. It was nice to be up front and not fighting a bunch of other GTE Am cars. That enabled us to eliminate a stop. We were the only car in GTE Am that did it in seven stops and that ended up being the difference in the race.

"It didn’t happen the way we expected it to, but very nice to be up front in the end."

Asked for his thoughts on how the race unfolded, Bleekemolen said that he felt Keating "didn’t do himself justice" with his description of how victory came about.

"He did a really heroic drive," added the Dutchman. "[He drove] three hours, none of the other drivers in the whole race did that today. And he handed the car off near the front.

"That really set us up, it saved us a pitstop, because all the other bronze drivers were getting out of the car way sooner and they couldn’t make it on fuel.

"So basically that’s what gave us this nice gap. All we had to do was stay out of trouble and not give the gap away. It set up our race."

#57 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR: Ben Keating, Larry ten Voorde, Jeroen Bleekemolen

#57 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR: Ben Keating, Larry ten Voorde, Jeroen Bleekemolen

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

shares
comments
Yamashita fastest rookie in Bahrain WEC test
Previous article

Yamashita fastest rookie in Bahrain WEC test

Next article

Calado: "Game over" for #51 Ferrari after Bahrain defeat

Calado: "Game over" for #51 Ferrari after Bahrain defeat
Load comments
How Toyota’s sole survivor turned the tables at Spa Prime

How Toyota’s sole survivor turned the tables at Spa

After a chastening opening to the season at Sebring that ended in an enormous accident, Toyota's #7 crew got their World Endurance Championship underway with victory at a treacherously slippery Spa to make up for its sister car's Sebring defeat to Alpine, as Glickenhaus's promising qualifying turned to disaster in the race

WEC
May 9, 2022
How Toyota's WEC dominance was curbed at stormy Sebring Prime

How Toyota's WEC dominance was curbed at stormy Sebring

Toyota’s stranglehold on the FIA World Endurance Championship ended at the 2022 opener at Sebring, but all accusing eyes were on the Balance of Performance system as the key to the shake-up. Here's how it unfolded, to see Alpine celebrating under a stormy sky having blown away the defending champions...

WEC
Mar 21, 2022
Why Penske remains ambitious for its WEC learning year Prime

Why Penske remains ambitious for its WEC learning year

Team Penske is gearing up for its role in running Porsche’s LMDh programme from 2023 by entering this year's World Endurance Championship with an LMP2 car. Although the team is considering 2022 as a season to learn, it is no less serious about winning than ever - which should make the already fiercely competitive class even more so

WEC
Mar 17, 2022
Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022 Prime

Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022

Ahead of the much-anticipated arrival of its new 9X8 Hypercar, Peugeot revealed that it would not be entering this year's Le Mans 24 Hours with its incoming machinery. Although development restrictions for homologated cars are partially responsible, the French marque can draw on its own lessons from its history in sportscars

WEC
Feb 28, 2022
Why the GTP name undermines convergence between IMSA and WEC Prime

Why the GTP name undermines convergence between IMSA and WEC

OPINION: The adoption by IMSA of the GTP name for its forthcoming LMDh versus Le Mans Hypercar era in 2023 appeals to fans of nostalgia - but it undermines the commonality achieved by bringing its rulebook into line with the WEC. GTP or Hypercar, both sides should settle on a single name

WEC
Feb 15, 2022
Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing Prime

Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing

Few disciplines of motorsport offer better possibilities to build a colossus of the track than sportscars. For Autosport's recent Monsters of Motorsport special issue, we picked out some of the finest (and not so fine) that have graced sportscar classics including Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring

Le Mans
Feb 4, 2022
Why F1-snubbed Davidson has no regrets in retirement Prime

Why F1-snubbed Davidson has no regrets in retirement

He may not have won the Le Mans 24 Hours - falling agonisingly short in 2016 - and didn't get the opportunities in Formula 1 his talents merited. But after calling time on his professional career last month, Anthony Davidson says his pride in his performances with Peugeot and Toyota in LMP1 mean more than the results he achieved

WEC
Dec 17, 2021
Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021 Prime

Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021

Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez scored a second successive FIA World Endurance Championship title in the #7 Toyota, as its new Le Mans Hypercar went unbeaten. Motorsport.com recaps how each of the four classes in the 2021 season were won and picks out the best LMH and GTE drivers

WEC
Nov 28, 2021