Riley Motorsports team owner Ben Keating has told DSC that a full racing programme for his Riley Mk.30 is unlikely. Keating’s car, which will debut at Le Mans this month as a guest entry in the 25-car LMP2 field – with Ricky Taylor and Jeroen Bleekemolen racing it with him – has no planned appearances other than at Le Mans going forward.
The Texan, says his racing commitments in IMSA (in GTD), as well as his day job make it unlikely for him to find the time in the future to compete regularly in LMP2.
With IMSA bye to nominate a pair of privateer entires who are keen to do the 24 Hours each year in recent times.
“It’s more of an availability of time issue for me,” Keating said, when asked if his Le Mans entry this year is the start of further prototype appearances. “I’m committed to running the GTD Mercedes AMG in IMSA, and the GT Daytona class hits all 12 races, so for me I still have to go to work, sell a bunch of cars in Texas to pay for all of this.
“Time away from the business and family, with 12 IMSA Races plus Le Mans, means I end up spending almost three months out of the year just racing, which is hard for me. Ricky (Taylor) is obviously committed to Wayne Taylor Racing, so I don’t know that I can afford to do more, but I purchased the P2 car, put the Keating Motorsports team together with the intention of doing multiple Le Mans 24 Hours.”
Instead of competing in a series, Keating instead wishes to continue racing at Le Mans with the car. To do that, he understands though, that he must perform, and that gaining a guest entry each year is not guaranteed.
“It’s only a 60-car field though, and this year there’s 25 LMP2 cars, almost half the field,” he explained. “So, I don’t want to assume we will get an invite every year. Hopefully we do well enough to earn the respect of the ACO and continue to be invited.
“That would be the goal, and expectation for us.”
There are two nominated privateer IMSA entries to Le Mans each year, which paved the way for Keating Motorsports’ to get its birth. The other was the second Scuderia Corsa GTE Am Ferrari.
In addition to that, the pair of Corvette Racing C7.Rs, the two US Ganassi Ford GTs (one automatic after its Le Mans win), Scuderia Corsa’s first 488 (for its GTE Am Le Mans win in ’16) and longtime Le Mans entrant Risi Competizione were also given invitations.
Featured image courtesy of Jakob Ebrey Photography