Keating Ford loses Le Mans
GTE Am class win
The Keating Motorsports squad that took GTE Am victory with a privateer
Ford GT in the Le Mans 24 Hours has been disqualified.
In two separate stewards' decisions, the Keating Ford was initially handed
a time penalty just large enough to drop it down to second in class,
behind the #56 Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR that inherits class victory.
The first bulletin said that the Wynn’s-liveried #85 Ford GT, in which
owner-driver Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga shared
driving duties, "did not meet the minimum complete fuelling time", with a
55.2s penalty being imposed.
Bleekemolen had crossed the line 44 seconds ahead of the Project 1 car of
Jorg Bergmeister, Egidio Perfetti and Patrick Lindsey, who had claimed the
class FIA World Endurance Championship by finishing second.
This was followed by confirmation that the #85 Ford had been disqualified
entirely for a "total onboard fuel volume in excess of the permitted
Ford's top finisher in the GTE Pro class, the #68 machine of Sebastien
Bourdais, Joey Hand and Dirk Muller, was stripped of its fourth-place
finish for the same reason.
The second stewards' report stated that the fuel capacity of the #85 Ford
had been found to be 96.1 litres, 0.1( more than the maximum 96) that had
been laid down by the GTE Am class Balance of Performance.
It went on to say that “the competitor explained that the team checked the
Maximum Onboard Fuel Volume before the car was shipped from the USA and
that they then rechecked the volume after the change in BoP, however this
was done using the weight and density of the fuel rather than by measuring
the volume directly."
The earlier 55.2s penalty related to the fact the Keating Ford did not
have the correct size fuel restrictor diameter to ensure a refueling time
of 45s, as stated by the GTE Am rules.
Its refueling time was found to be 44.4s, with the 0.6s discrepancy
multiplied by the car's number of stops in the race - 23 - and multiplied
by four to give the 55.2s figure.
Keating's disqualification marks the second time in two years a class
winner has been stripped of victory at Le Mans, following the G-Drive
Racing LMP2 squad's exclusion last year.
Moving up to second and third places in GTE Am as a result are the Ferrari
488 GTEs of JMW Motorsport and WeatherTech Racing.