American connection in German car in the World Championship

The German Team Project 1 team has found their drivers for the FIA World Endurance Championship 2019/20 season.

They announced David Heinemeier Hansson, Egidio Perfetti and Matteo Cairoli in the #56 prior to the Prologue in Barcelona, and the drivers for #57 was announced this week, as an American, a Brazilian and a Dutch driver, all with an American connection.

Confused, or have you guessed? Ben Keating, Felipe Fraga and Jeroen Bleekemolen will share the #57 throughout the FIA WEC season. The three drivers are already teammates in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, where they share a Mercedes AMG GT3 GTD car.

The three also paired up for the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2019, where they ran the first private Ford GT in the GTE Am category, where they won the race on the track, but lost the win post-race due to incorrect fuel size according to the BOP table. So 24 hours after they were celebrated as winners, they had to hand back their trophies. Ironically it was to the exact Team Project 1 team.

But now they have teamed up for a Porsche in GTE Am. It’s unclear what it means to Keating and the Ford GT car, just as it was unclear if he actually bought it or just rented it for the race – the team hasn’t really answered that. Unless they want to put in into one of Keating car dealerships as a bit of an (unfortunate) piece of memory, it doesn’t make much sense. Because you don’t have a race car like that parked up for more than 12 months, before start racing it again.

Ben Keating, Felipe Fraga, Jeroen Bleekemolen
Photo: JJ Media

There were speculations, prior to the Team Project 1 announcement, that Keating would run the car at the 1000 Miles of Sebring in 2020, as a warm-up to the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2020, but that won’t happen now, with them running in the Porsche instead.

Ben Keating has been piloting several cars over the years. He raced a Dodge Viper for years, before switching to the Mercedes AMG, and then most recently, the Ford GT.

It’s not yet clear if the Team Project 1 Porsche #57 will run in Wynn’s colours, like it was the case at the 24 Hours of Le Mans plus in the IMSA series – but it would be nice with some fresh colours in the FIA WEC.

The FIA WEC 2019/20 starts on 1 September at Silverstone.

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