Although currently better known to DSC readers as a British GT stalwart and championship contender, Phil Keen has also been ploughing a very successful furrow in Radicals this year and his efforts have resulted in him being named the 2015 Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner. The 31-year old will thus be racing a Daytona Prototype in January’s Rolex 24.
“I am really pleased to have won the Sunoco Whelen Challenge,” said Phil. “I can’t wait to get out there, meet the team and learn the car and the track. A big thank to my team mate/sponsor Peter Belshaw, my Radical team Mark’s Electrical and of course, Whelen Engineering, Sunoco and Daytona for giving me this opportunity.”
Keen achieved the feat by winning the 2014 Radical SR3 Challenge Championship by such a margin that he was able to skip the final round in order to compete in the non-eligible GT Open.
“I’m very excited to have Phil Keen as the 2015 Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner,” said Anglo American Oils MD Anders Hildebrand. “Phil is a very fast and experienced SportsCar racer, and although he has never raced in the US or on an oval, I know he will have no problems getting up to speed very quickly. I’m confident that Phil will enjoy Daytona and who knows, the combination of Action Express and Whelen might just be the combination that will result in Phil getting his hand on the Rolex watch at the end of the race!”
24-hour races are nothing new to Keen, and he was the driving force behind the victory of the Eclipse Motorsport Ferrari in the 2011 Britcar 24.
Aside from that race, long-time readers will need no convincing of his pace and talent, and it is to be hoped that the Florida race will open new doors for this most rapid of pedalers.
Keen will get his first taste of the Action Express-run #31 Whelen Corvette DP at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test on January 9-11 – also his first taste of the famous banking – and will then join the car’s regular drivers, Eric Curran and Dane Cameron for the Rolex 24 later that month.
Cameron and Keen certainly look set to make a potent pairing.
Well done Phil!