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To 24H SERIES fans, this proud Texan is a regular front-runner, and former runner-up, at the Hankook 24H COTA USA. To IMSA fans, he’s a former class winner at Daytona, and has claimed multiple GTC and GTD class wins in the American Le Mans Series and the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. And World Endurance Championship enthusiasts will be familiar with 2018 LMGTE-Am Le Mans podium finisher, ‘Keating Motorsport’.
 
Were you aware of Ben Keating’s similarities to Deadpool though…?
 
 
Name?
 

“Ben Keating.”
 
 
Age? You can lie about that if you want…
 

“48.”
 
 
Where and when was your first ever car race, and how old were you?
 

“My first race ever was in 2007 at Sebring International Raceway, and I was 36 years old. I really had no business being in the race group, but fell into it because I had purchased a car that had [previously] raced in the group, and was allowed to compete well before I was ready. I jumped straight into the deep end of the pool!”
 
 
What is the best moment of your racing career so far?
 

“It keeps getting better, but so far I would have to say the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans. There was one hour to go in the race, I still needed to complete my minimum drive time, and because of a few unexpected stops, I had 20 minutes left to the end of my stint. Jörg Bergmeister” – that’s current Porsche factory driver, and 2003 Daytona 24 Hours winner Jörg Bergmeister, just FYI – “was only five seconds behind me in P2. I was able to switch into ‘Quali mode’ and complete my last 20 minutes while only giving up two seconds on-track.
 
“I think every AM driver dreams of being in the biggest race, driving with the biggest names in motorsports, where the whole race falls on your shoulders and you can pull through for the team. That is exactly the situation I was in, and it has got to be my proudest moment.”
 
 
Which is your favourite circuit and why?
 

“I have been mostly racing in the USA, so these are the circuits I know the best. My favorite is Road America. It just has such an incredible ‘old school’ character. I love the town of Elkhart Lake and I love the circuit. In addition to that, I really like the tracks I’ve done well at, which I think include CoTA in Austin and Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Mosport). I just competed in the WEC [World Endurance Championship] race at Fuji in Japan and I also really enjoyed that circuit.”
 
 
Describe the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you at a motor race …
 

“I think the strangest thing I can think of was total chassis and suspension failure as a result of coming down off the air jacks! We had a huge lead in a 24-hour race. Obviously the issue wasn’t created because of a pit stop, but you never expect chassis or suspension failure to happen while you are in the middle of a pit stop. It was bizarre.”
 
 
Describe your helmet design to us, and what it signifies…
 

“I live in Texas and have spent my whole life there. Texas is a very proud state. We are the only state within the United States to have ever been our own Country. So we’ve always had a little independence. My helmets have different designs, but they are all varying versions of the Texas flag.”
 
 
What is your greatest strength?
 

“As in life, many times your biggest strength can also be your biggest weakness. I think my biggest strength, as a 48-year-old racer, is courage behind the wheel. I don’t have a problem taking risks and ‘going for it’. This allows me to find the limit and improve my abilities. This is why I do well at high-speed tracks where there is high risk and high reward. But this was also my biggest weakness early in my career. In my first six races, I was involved in six incidents. I have become much better at managing risks and being patient for courage in the right moments.”
 
 
If Hollywood made a movie about you, which actor would play you and why?
 

“Deadpool. Just like a super hero character, I feel like I get to live totally separate lives. There is the Ben Keating who runs 25 different businesses with 1500 employees and is all about business. And then, there is Ben Keating the racer. For me, the racer is almost a totally different world. I still enjoy being a serious racer who is all about getting the job done, but first and foremost I have to remember that this is supposed to be FUN. So, I work to make sure we are having fun at the track. I think Deadpool is a character who likes having fun while he’s in the middle of being a super hero.”
 
 
What would you like to achieve before retiring?
 

“I would like to achieve a season-long championship in a top level series. I have won championships in club racing and some support series, and I have gotten 2nd place in IMSA a few times. But I’d like to win an IMSA championship or, even better, a WEC World Championship this year.”
 
 
Tell us a random fact about yourself that your fans might not know…
 

“I am a car dealer in Texas. I own 19 dealerships, representing 19 different brands, all in Texas. We retail about 30,000 vehicles per year. So whether it is my business or my recreation, cars are involved somewhere.”
 
 
Finally, what do you enjoy most about competing in the 24H SERIES?
 

“The way the series is run is just so appealing and attractive. There is less bullshit to deal with CREVENTIC than any other series I’ve ever run in. There is a very good mutual respect between competitors, and between classes, and on both sides between racers and series management. It is really about high quality racing and high quality fun.”

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