Keating Motorsports/Risi Competizione 24h Le Mans test day preview

Keating Motorsports/Risi Competizione 24h Le Mans test day preview

29.05.2018: Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE-Am No. 85: Ben Keating (USA) Jeroen Bleekemolen (NLD)

Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE-Am No. 85:    Ben Keating (USA)
                                                                                   Jeroen Bleekemolen (NLD)
                                                                                   Luca Stolz (DEU)

Rick Mayer, race engineer of the Keating Motorsports/Risi Competizione No. 85 Ferrari 488 GTE-Am team, gives us a preview of this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, June 16-17, 2018.


Giuseppe Risi and Ben Keating, both business owners and automotive dealers in the state of Texas with racing connections, have joined forces for this years' 24-hour race at the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France. Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen, and Luca Stolz will pilot the Keating Motorsports/Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE.

The track is mostly public roads, except for the event days. The whole circuit is not available to test at any other time. The Le Mans test day is one of the most important test days of any series given the uniqueness of the venue. This time of year Le Mans weather can be extremely variable: wet, dry, hot or cold.

We need to maximize track time to understand the tire options in the different conditions; Michelin tire options are different than last year. We need to finalize the race event starting setup and get all the drivers comfortable and familiar with the many alarms, buttons, dials and switches. All the No. 85 car drivers are new to this car and we'll use the test day to acclimate them.

The circuit is 8.5 miles long and just under a four-minute lap for the GTEs. 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 (8) 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.

 Rick Mayer, Keating Motorsports/Risi Competizione Race Engineer

There are five (5) Ferrari F488's, six (6) Porsches and two (2) Aston-Martins in the GTE-Am entry this year. The Ferrari is the same car spec as last year; the Porsche is the mid-engine car that was homologated in GTE-Pro last year. The Am class is more driver performance bias then the Pro class and the No. 85 car lineup is at the very top of the list of driver prowess.

It is highly unlikely any cars will show their true pace as the BoP (Balance of Performance) can be adjusted between the test and the race. All the manufacturers are hoping to keep what they have or get a BoP advantage for the race week.

: First, you need a super reliable car; you have to finish to win. It needs to be comfortable for all the drivers with no unpredictable handling tendencies. If the car is good in the Porsche curves it is probably good everywhere, that's a good gauge. The aero setup for Le Mans is like nowhere else we race. Every car has a special homologated Le Mans-only aero package to reduce the downforce and drag for competitiveness and equality.

The long straights here are so important, with three of them being over a mile long and two more over 4,000 feet; Teams will trim downforce to reduce drag for straight-line speed. There is a limit to reduced downforce. If you go too far you are too slow off the corners leading onto the long straights and the actual maximum speed in those sections can be slower. Part of the testing process is finding that limit. Every manufacturer has and ACO/FIA homologated Le Mans kit to reduce drag and give some parity between the different makes of cars.

This is mainly to reduce front downforce that you balance with a substantial reduction in rear wing angle. The reduced wing is the main drag reduction. You need a good platform for the high speed and change of directions, so the setup is on the stiff side; there is only one slow corner at Le Mans. The majority of the track is smooth (surprisingly for every day roads), so there is not usually a grip issue.

Additionally, the track gains grip in the test as the track rubbers in. Of course, that is only if the rain doesn't wash the rubber off! You always consider rain in the setup; seldom is the race totally dry. We had a great setup last year and the car build is the same. We don't expect to be changing the setup much.

Test Day Methodology
: Teams only have two (2) four-hour sessions with a one-hour break. It is a full day of running. In the first hour the track will be low grip, dusty and dirty on the public street parts of the circuit. The dust and dirt being sucked off the track by the cars will look like spray from rain. You need to get a handle on the setup at the test. During the event week you need to be in 'race mode' and concentrate on race prep (car, drivers, equipment, crew, pit work, etc.) and not setup.

All the GTE-Am cars will have three (3) dry Michelin tire options to choose from, and multiple wet tire options; understanding the 'windows' these tires all work best in and cross over points will be one of the goals of this test. We will try and do long runs on tires, a stint being about an hour, to see how the balance changes and what the lap time degradation is throughout the run.

We need to determine when and if it is advantageous to multi-stint tires in the race. Le Mans technical regulations only allow a limited number of dry tire sets to be used in the race. The quantity is not enough to change tires on every stop for the whole race, so we will have to multi-stint most sets of tires; double stinting tires is typical at Le Mans.


If you have a good test and end with a comfortable reliable car and reasonably happy drivers then you can start working on race event planning and minor fine tuning of the car, drivers and crew for the race week.

- Barbara Burns, photos Risi


29.05.2018 / MaP

More News

Calling all football and Le Mans 24 Hours fans
Torn between supporting your team and watching Le Mans 24 Hours? Don’t worry! You can do both.You won’t miss any of the action, either on the pitch or on the track. You can even help the French crowd cheer on Les Bleus before the start of the more >>
Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans : Everyone’s a winner with the changes to the circuit
The perpetually evolving Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans has a makeover every year ahead of the world’s greatest endurance race. Conducted under the aegis of the Syndicat mixte des 24 Heures – a consortium of local authorities – and the Automob more >>
List of teams invited to present cars and drivers for 24h Le Mans
....for scrutineering and administrative checksWith only 30 days to go before the 86th 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest is delighted to announce the list of competitors requested to undergo the mandatory pre-race checks on 10 and 11 more >>
Jamiroquai to play in the grounds of the 24 Hours of Le Mans !
 The Automobile Club de l’Ouest and its partner, Le Mans Stadium, organisers of the special concert initially scheduled for the MMArena, have decided to move the show to the very heart of the circuit and the stage near the Dunlop bridge on Friday 15 June. A real bonus for fans at the 24 Hours of Le Mans! more >>
Rafael Nadal to kick off the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans!
World-renowned tennis champion Rafael Nadal is to be race starter for the 86th 24 Hours of Le Mans on Saturday 16 June 2018. The phenomenal sportsman is a fitting ambassador for the iconic race. Make sure you’re watching at 3 p.m. on 16 June!Nadal often visi more >>
BMW returns to Le Mans – with the world premiere of the new BMW 8 Series Coupe.
New luxury sports car to be presented for the first time on 15 June 2018, the eve of the legendary 24-hour race – parallel development of the production model and the BMW M8 GTE guarantees inspiring driving dynamics on the road as well.24 hours more >>
JACKY ICKX, Grand Marshal of the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2018
With five weeks to go before this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, fans will be delighted to hear that the Grand Marshal of the world’s greatest endurance race is none other than the original Mr Le Mans, Jacky Ickx. more >>
BMW Motorsport returns to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Panasonic as “Official Partner”.
As BMW Motorsport returns to the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA) and enters the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), they are looking forward to a new partner that is renowned around the worldPanasonic enters the newly formed Super Season 2 more >>
24 Heures du Mans -Another world champion joins the race !
2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button has been announced as the latest driver to take on the challenge of the FIA World Endurance Championship and top tier sports prototype racing.The British driver will race for the full Super Season (except Spa 20 more >>
2018 Road to Le Mans, back for a third year with an even bigger grid!
After two highly successful editions, Road to Le Mans is back as a support race to the 86th 24 Hours of Le Mans on 16 June 2018. ENTRY LIST HERE   more >>
Porsche provide ACO and WEC with fleet of official course cars
•    New exclusive deal with WEC•    Porsche 911 Turbo to be Safety CarThe Porsche name is synonymous with endurance racing as one of the most successful and enduring marques, winning the 24 Hours of more >>
Paul di Resta to make 24h Le Mans debut with United Autosports
•    Paul Di Resta to race at Le Mans for the first time in June•    DTM Champion to race alongside Phil Hanson and Filipe Albuquerque•    Two car LMP2 entry for Anglo American team more >>
Juan Pablo Montoya to join United Autosports for 24 Hours Le Mans
•    Former F1 race winner to join United Autosports for 24 Hours of Le Mans•    Colombian to make Le Mans debut alongside Will Owen and Hugo de Sadeleer•    Triple Crown of Motorsport in sight for Monaco GP and Indy 500 winner more >>
Le Mans 24 Hours - a single ticket for THE concert and THE race!
2018 Le Mans 24 Hours 15-16-17 June 2018A major novelty in this year’s Le Mans 24-Hours week is the big Le Mans 24 Hours concert co-produced by the ACO and the Le Mans Stadium and sponsored by MMA, which will take place on 15th more >>
Marcel Martin has passed away
The Automobile Club is in mourning for one of its most steadfast members Marcel Martin, a passionate motor sport fan and renowned Le Mans 24-Hours race director, who has passed away at the age of 88.“Long live the Le Mans 24 Hou more >>
An innovation at the start on the Le Mans 24-Hours circuit
Every year the Le Mans 24-Hours circuit undergoes evolutions, further development and maintenance works. After the recent works aimed at making the Porsche corners safer and improving the sanitation under the track, 2018 will see a major innovation as the start line will be moved more >>
Ben Keating announces third driver for Risi Competizione /Keating Motorsport 24h Le Mans entry
Risi Competizione and Keating Motorsport announced at this year's Rolex 24 At Daytona that they would partner for Keating's GTE-Am entry in the 86th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Keating and long-time co-driver, Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen, were announced as the two drivers.  more >>
9 Ligier JS P217s will race in the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours
The lists of teams which will race in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, the FIA World Endurance Championship and the European Le Mans Series have been unveiled. A total of 10 Ligier JS P217s and 15 Ligier JS P3s will race in these three events.The more >>
24h Le Mans List of Competitors invited
2018 Le Mans 24 Hours - Looking forward to 16 June 2018!
•    Fernando Alonso and Toyota up against five private teams in the top LM P1 class;•    A 20-strong LM P2 grid;•    Six manufacturers and 17 cars in LM GTE Pro;•    Thirteen competitors in LM GTE Am;•    Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, ACO special co more >>
2018 Le Mans 24 Hours -In 24 hours the field will be revealed!
Who will be at the start of the 86th Le Mans 24 Hours? Answer in 24 hours! Tomorrow at 15:00 at the Rétromobile Show in Paris the Automobile Club de l’Ouest will reveal the list of the 60 entrants selected to start the Le Mans 24 Hours on 16th June. F more >>
2018 Le Mans 24 Hours The last teams invited!
After the results of the last round of the Asian Le Mans Series today, Sunday, the names of the last teams invited to take part in qualifying for the Le Mans 24 Hours (16 and 17 June) are now known.In five days, on Friday 9th Febr more >>
Risi Competizione and Keating Motorsports joint effort for 24h Le Mans 2018
 Risi Competizione and Keating Motorsports have announced a partnership for the 86th Annual 24 Hours of Le Mans race to be held June 16-17, 2018.Giuseppe Risi and Ben Keating, both business owners and automotive dealers in the more >>
Toyota - Endurance, The legend continues!
When the “monsters” parade. This is how one could express - but not sum up as they have enjoyed so many adventures together – the relationship between Toyota and Le Mans, and between Toyota and the FIA World Endurance Championship as each has contributed to writing a part of the other’s history. more >>
The Le Mans trophy has arrived at the Porsche Museum
Handover of the winner's trophyThe winner’s trophy for the 24 Hours of Le Mans has found a new home at the Porsche Museum. After three overall victories in a row in the toughest long-distance race in the world, Porsche has now earned the ri more >>
JAMIROQUAI launches the Le Mans 24 Hours Grand Concert with the MMA!
Friday 15th June 2018 in the MMArenaIn 2018, the Le Mans 24 Hours will be celebrating their 86th staging and the event continues to innovate and excite everybody’s curiosity and interest wit more >>
"Our Le Mans", here is the docufilm by Cetilar Villorba Corse
Distribution on Monday, December 18 with English subtitles “Our Le Mans”, the docufilm that tells about Cetilar Villorba Corse debut at the 2017 24 Hours of Le more >>
2018 Le Mans 24 Hours Entries open on 18th December
•    Entries for the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours open on 18th December and close on 5th February,•    Seven teams have already been invited to take part,•    The complete entry list will be revealed on 9th February. more >>
TOTAL - Official fuel supplier to endurance for five years
from left to right : Momar Nguer, General Manager of the Marketing & Services department and member of the Total Executive Committee and Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest.The Automobile Club de l’Ouest and more >>
2018 Le Mans 24 Hours poster revealed
Preparations for the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours on 17-18 June are in full swing. Thanks to an original interactive reveal, the poster of the greatest endurance race in the world was unveiled on the evening of 22nd November. It’s a take on the cues of posters as works of art usi more >>
Michelin - Le Mans - Endurance, the story continues!
Photo caption:  from left to right : Gérard Neveu, Le Mans Endurance Management CEO (FIA WEC and ELMS), Pascal Couasnon, Michelin Motorsport Manager and Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest. more >>
The 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours at the cinema on 23rd November!
•    Several drivers will be present for an autograph session in the Mega CGR Saint-Saturnin Le Mans at 18:30•    Film starts at 20:00 followed by a discussion •    Film shown simultaneously on myACO in French or in English  more >>
The 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours film
23rd November at the Mega CGR cinema in Saint Saturnin – Le Mans•    Screening at the Mega CGR cinema in Saint Saturnin – Le Mans on 23rd November•    Film shown simultaneously on myACO& more >>
Reserve your 2018 Le Mans 24-Hours weekend from 17th October onwards!
•    Now is the time to start preparing for your week packed with festivities and motor racing at the 86th Le Mans 24 Hours•    Ticket office open for ACO Club members on Tuesday 17th October at 10:00 more >>
Le Mans 24 Hours - World-class sport, worldwide coverage
On Sunday 18 June, the chequered flag of the 24 Hours of Le Mans marked the end of a week of sporting splendour. Media coverage was remarkable. Figures show excellent performance across the board, reflecting the immense popularity of the worl more >>
Toyota Gazoo Racing 24h Le Mans statement
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing can confirm it has received an apology from Vincent Capillaire regarding his actions during the Le Mans 24 Hours. We have fully accepted his apology and acknowledge that his sporting gesture was never intended to cause any negative consequences for our #7 car. We remain on good terms with Vincent and we consider the matter is n more >>
Gibson Engines Make History on Overall Podium at Le Mans
British built engines dominate at prestigious raceRepton based engine manufacturer Gibson Technology is celebrating after making history at the Le Mans 24 hour race last weekend. In the history of Le Mans, a race which expects LMP1 dominance, an LMP2 car has never more >>
24h Le Mans final overall classification 2017
Race  85º Edition des 24 Heures du MansFIA WECSunday, June 18th  20171 2 Porsche LMP Team BERNHARD / BAMBER / HARTLEY Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 H M 367 24:01:14.075 29 85 3:19.782 245.62 38 Jackie more >>
24h Le Mans Final result by class
Race  85º Edition des 24 Heures du MansFIA WECSunday, June 18th  2017LMP1 Fastest Lap by BUEMI Sébastien: 3:18.604 (Lap 330, 247,0 Kph)1 2 Porsche LMP Team BERNHARD / BAMBER / HARTLEY Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 H M 367 24:01:14.075 29 85 3:19.782 245.6 more >>


2001-2021 full copyright