Debut Will Come in Series’ Final 2023 Round at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A thrilling debut is on the horizon as professional endurance racing multi-time champion Ben Keating is set to take the track in the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires for the final weekend of the 2023 season. Keating’s first appearance in the series comes as he joins forces with Saito Motorsports Group at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta as part of the Motul Petit Le Mans event from Oct. 11-14.
Keating’s racing résumé reads like a roadmap of victories, with an impressive list of achievements in the world of endurance racing including the 2021 Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) season title in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Keating and co-driver Paul-Loup Chatin are 20 points out of the LMP2 lead heading to the Oct. 14 season finale.
Keating was also part of the Corvette Racing team that captured the LMGTE Am championship this year, including a class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Now, Keating is prepared to test his skills in a new arena, taking the wheel of a Mazda MX-5 Cup car for the first time.
“I am extremely excited to be racing in the MX-5 Cup with Saito Motorsports Group and, to be honest, quite nervous. It looks like a total blast to drive and the competition looks like a ton of fun,” said Keating. “I have never raced in a series where I may be pushing someone else or might be being pushed by someone.”
With multiple prestigious wins, including the Rolex 24 At Daytona, 24 Hours of Le Mans and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the 52-year-old Keating has solidified his reputation as a dominant force on any circuit. His decision to venture into the MX-5 Cup underscores his passion for racing and his relentless pursuit of new horizons in motorsport.
“I have been a longtime admirer of Keating’s on track pursuits,” said Jay Saito, team owner of SMG. “Ben’s arrival is a game changer for us and a very important moment in our team’s history. We are honored and privileged to participate in this series and, to have the opportunity to compete with Keating, it’s just beyond words. Ben is sure to ignite new and additional enthusiasm for the series and we are looking forward to seeing him embrace this new challenge. In such a competitive field of drivers and teams, success is always hard to achieve, but we look forward to the challenge for the weekend.”
Keating understands going in that MX-5 Cup racing is quite different to what he’s experienced in other series. He’s looking forward to the challenge.
“I have to imagine the race craft is totally different, and I want to fit in well without making a rookie mistake,” he said. “I have a lot to learn and that is one of the things I love about motorsports.”
The 45-minute races at Michelin Raceway are the last of seven doubleheader rounds this season. The first race starts at 5:45 p.m. ET Thursday, Oct. 12 and the second at 10:30 a.m. the following day. Both will stream live on IMSA.com.