The Guinness World Records title for the fastest speed by a vehicle indoors stood at 86 mph until earlier this year, when racer Leh Keen cleared one of the most expansive concrete slabs in a U.S. public venue. The record speed attempt required starting and finishing at a standstill, all within the Ernst M. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Setting a new Guinness indoor speed watermark meant no run up, no safety net and no doors open—hence, no escape route.
Keen required a ride that was surefooted in challenging conditions, one that’s among the hardest accelerating and decelerating cars on the market. The model meeting his criteria was the all-electric Porsche Taycan Turbo S, possessing a maximum of 750 hp, with four wheel drive to maximize grip, powerful carbon ceramic brakes, and the ability to accelerate from idle to 60 mph in just 2.6 seconds. At just over 1 million sq. ft., the Morial Convention Center—host to past World of Concrete, Masonry Expo and Manufactured Concrete Exposition gatherings, plus the 2021 Precast Show (May 20-21)—is the country’s largest contiguous exhibit hall, ideal for the distance it provided for Keen’s speed test. Like many other indoor facilities, however, the polished concrete exhibit hall slabs mimic ice when being driven over at speed.
“The surface is so unpredictable, so slick, that you have to have complete trust in your car. It truly was like ice—and you’re accelerating flat out, facing a really hard wall at the end. Suddenly, even in a massive space like the one we had, it seems very small,” says Keen. “I could feel the Taycan’s systems figuring it out, working so hard to keep me heading straight. To accelerate so hard on such a surface was incredible.”
His strategy was to build up through low speed exploratory runs. The Taycan Turbo’s stock street tires were preheated as a precaution. When it came to the record attempt, one run was all it took. “I did take a moment on the starting line, knowing I was going to have to go as fast as I could, and stop again—all before reaching the wall,” Keen recalls. “I used the launch control and the Taycan just hooked up. The sensation of speed indoors, even in such a big space, is enormous.”