Earlier this year, we saw David Donohue send the latest GT2 RS around Road America in a staggering time of 2:15.17. Last week, IMSA ace and all-around hooligan Leh Keen took another GT2 RS around the four-mile circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin and slashed the previous record by a considerable margin. Like Donohue’s car, Keen’s machine wore the same Michelin Cup 2 R tires, but enjoyed a few upgrades.
While Donohue’s car was likely one of the best of stock batch, Keen’s car received a few tweaks to get a little more out of the widely adjustable chassis. Aside from the factory cage and the Manthey water tank for longer fast laps at full power, there were two notable changes made. This car enjoys a more aggressive alignment courtesy of 311RS, who’ve modified a few track-spec cars featured on this site, as well as a engine tune from Mitch McKee. The tune reaps an additional 60 wheel horsepower, totaling 690 at the rear wheels. Truly, these mild modifications simply maximize the potential of the factory setup without bringing in many aftermarket parts. While some might object to this comparison being made at all, there are just as many who’d like to see what the car is capable of when optimized.
With a new set of Cup 2 R tires, Keen set out to slash Donohue’s lap by a serious margin, and though he did, the ease with which Keen drives this car makes you wonder how. Though still slightly nervous on the brakes, this optimized version of the car looks so much more composed from mid-corner onward. The corner exit acceleration is hard to fathom—it looks almost four wheel-drive at times—and only once does the break away under acceleration (2:00). When it does, it looks so predictable that Keen’s steering inputs are more like those you’d expect to see on a Sunday drive than on a record-breaking lap at one of the fastest road courses in North America. Even when dancing through Turn 10 at high speeds, it all looks so casual and understated.
At the end of his first economical lap, Keen crossed the line in 2:12.9—a time which rivals a GT3 Cup Car and bests the fastest non-Porsche production car, a Viper ACR, by seven seconds. Not only did he not need a warmup lap, he didn’t even use tire warmers. After that, his times began to worsen, and so they packed it in after a fairly stress-free and straightforward day at the track. Of course, it’s never that simple; much headscratching and wrenching goes on in the wee hours beforehand to find such an encouraging setup. But it’s fair to say that the preparation this car received made setting a staggering time look easy.