"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.

shares
comments
"Heroic" Keating to thank for Project 1 Bahrain win

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

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

About this article

Series WEC
Event Bahrain
Drivers Ben Keating , Jeroen Bleekemolen
Teams Team Project 1
Author Jamie Klein
Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile Prime

Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile

Making a return to top-flight sportscar racing after 50 years away, Ferrari will enter the Le Mans Hypercar ranks in 2023. The Italian marque denies the link with Formula 1's new cost cap that frees up resources, but it's certainly no coincidence...

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
The ground-up refresh behind Toyota's new Le Mans challenger Prime

The ground-up refresh behind Toyota's new Le Mans challenger

Toyota's new GR010 contender for the World Endurance Championship's Hypercar era has little in common with the LMP1 TS050 that preceded it. But within the confines of the scaled back new rules, its latest challenger will be no less formidable a prospect

WEC
Jan 22, 2021
The tiny increments that decided the final LMP1-era WEC Prime

The tiny increments that decided the final LMP1-era WEC

The system of success handicaps devised by the FIA World Endurance Championship to level the LMP1 playing field in the category's swansong season ended up having a counterproductive effect, as COVID cancellations also played in the champions' favour.

WEC
Dec 5, 2020
Why Audi’s shock return promises a new age for sportscars Prime

Why Audi’s shock return promises a new age for sportscars

OPINION: The news that Audi will return to Le Mans means we'll at last get to see the fight promised in 2012 against Peugeot and Toyota. It also gives LMDh a tangible form, which could open the floodgates for more like-minded marques to follow suit…

WEC
Dec 1, 2020
The eternal debate revived after the 2019/20 WEC season Prime

The eternal debate revived after the 2019/20 WEC season

It may have been missed amid the clamour over Lewis Hamilton's seventh F1 title, but Britain had another world champion crowned last weekend. Mike Conway's WEC crown raises an old conundrum - does title glory make up for the pain of Le Mans defeat?

WEC
Nov 19, 2020
The 10 greatest LMP1 races ranked Prime

The 10 greatest LMP1 races ranked

As the LMP1 class prepares to bow out of top-line sportscar racing at the World Endurance Championship season finale in Bahrain this weekend, Motorsport.com looks back over the past two decades to pick out the 10 of its best contests

Endurance
Nov 9, 2020
Why COVID-19 didn't stop Peugeot's Le Mans commitment Prime

Why COVID-19 didn't stop Peugeot's Le Mans commitment

When the global pandemic hit, Peugeot was given the perfect excuse to back out of its stated intention to return to Le Mans in 2022. That it hasn't done so is telling both of its unfinished business and the opportunities presented by the Hypercar rulebook

Le Mans
Oct 8, 2020