Blind speed record beaten – now let me at a Bugatti!
Blind driver Mike Newman has smashed the world land speed record – and now he wants to borrow a Bugatti Veyron and crack 200mph.
After Mike, 52, took back his blind land speed record on Tuesday with two runs averaging 186mph, he wants to take the water speed record for a blind pilot, then get back on dry land to be the first past 200mph.
The £170,000 Porsche GT2 he drove at the 1.9-mile Bruntingthorpe Probing Ground doesn’t have the legs though – it will only hit 190mph.
“200mph is on,” said Mike, who grew up in Gloucester, and was guided by radio by his step-father, also Mike, a driving instructor from Longlevens.
“I’m going to need to find something that’s quick enough. I just need someone to lend me a Veyron and who is brave enough to trust me with it.”
He was born with glaucoma and lost his sight at the age of eight – but that hasn’t dimmed his passion for fast cars.
Having previously set blind world land speed records in a Jaguar XRJ and a BMW M5 with his step father’s guidance, the Porsche was a step up, as it has a manual gearbox, not an automatic.
“It means when you take your hand off the steering wheel, there is a slight correction to be made but of course, Mike can’t see that,” said Mike senior, who runs Freeway School of Motoring.
“Most sighted drivers don’t even know it has happened but Mike won’t, so I have to tell him to go right or left.”
He was in a chase car with Rob Shirle, who provided one of the Porsches used for the attempt.
“It’s a 1.9-mile straight and we’re doing almost three miles a minute, so a minor adjustment can make a major change to where you are going,” said Mike senior, 59.
With his black Labrador Baxter looking on with family and friends including his mum Lynda, 70, he concentrated as hard as he could and put his faith in those around him.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” said Mike junior.
“There’s nothing else quite like it. The sound and the smell is amazing.”
Proud mum Lynda said her son learns quickly.
“He had a day to adjust to the manual gearbox,” she said. “And we weren’t sure if we were going to get enough daylight to finish the attempt but we did.
“It wasn’t easy but I knew he could do it.”
Next on the list for Mike junior, who holds the world record for the most loop-the-loops in an aircraft by a blind pilot at 26, is an attack on the water speed record.
He is heading to the south coast to meet the crew of racing boat, Silverline.
The current record is 91mph and he reckons 95mph is possible.
Until Tuesday, the land speed record for a blind driver stood at 182mph by Turkish pop star Metin Senturk, in a Ferrari F430.