Keating gets to learn Monza in a winning way in Michelin Le Mans Cup (Updated - Post race DQ)

Saturday, July 10, 2021


Just for fun but with serious reasons behind that has seen the TF Sport team come away with an emphatic GT3 class win in this evening’s two hour Le Mans Cup race at Monza.

With the Sussex already at the circuit for this weekend’s European Le Mans Series with their Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GTE in that series and again next weekend for the third round of the World Endurance Championship and their two AMR GTE’s within that, it came as a good idea for Ben Keating to see for the first time what the historic Italian circuit had to offer before that WEC round in very similar AMR machinery.

Joining up with Ross Gunn for this one off Le Mans Cup entry, the American so very nearly placed their #97 car on class pole position in todays earlier Qualifying session but was pipped to the post by the two Iron Lynx Ferrari’s.

Taking a delayed start to this evening’s race after barrier damage in an earlier race saw Keating take a clean start amongst the thirty-two runners but he had to take early avoiding action via a gravel trap to avoid a near stationary LMP3 car on the blind exit of the second Lesmo. That put the #97 car to last in class.

Next lap around and Keating was already pushing up to P4 in class, but everything was soon slowed down as a massive incident for the Team Virage LMP3 car and two other LMP3 cars brought out the Safety and Medical cars. Fortunately, all drivers were seen walking away and only fifteen minutes was lost to the clean-up and barrier repairs – tremendous work by those involved!!

Getting back to racing, it wasn’t long before the #97 was back up to P3 in class as further Full Course Yellow and Safety Car periods muted the flow of the race. At the top of the first hour, Keating pitted under the latest Safety Car to hand over to Gunn from P3 and a quicker stop from the TF Sport crew got him out before the two Iron Lynx Ferrari’s to assume the class lead for the first time.

As the shadows lengthened around the track, Gunn would only ever be threatened by the #2 Porsche but that would later collect a post-race time penalty for a pit stop infringement allowing Gunn to bring the #97 car home for a much-deserved class win and Keating much needed track time ahead of the final WEC round before Le Mans.

None points scoring of course, this result will boost the team not only for tomorrows ELMS race where their #95 AMR Vantage GTE will start from P3 but also for next weekend’s WEC race with all three TF Sport GTE cars being entered into August’s Le Mans 24Hr

UPDATE - Despite all of the above, the TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3 was disqualified from the results post race after their rear wing was found not to be within homologation limits. Disappointing but matters not as they are not a points scoring car within the Series - the purpose of that exercise was purely to give Ben Keating a racing knowledge of the circuit prior to the WEC round there next weekend!

Photo credits – LMC / Team
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