DRIVING AT 200mph is not for the faint-hearted at the best of times. At that speed the car is covering 89 metres every second; in the time it takes to blink you’ve travelled a further 30 metres up the road. So imagine not being able to see at all. That’s what Mike Newman faces, when he attempts to set a new world record for blind drivers, at Elvington Airfield, Yorkshire on Wednesday.
Newman, 52, a former bank manager from Manchester will attempt to not only break his own Guinness World blind land speed record of 186mph, which he set in a Porsche 911 GT2 last September, but also break the 200mph barrier.
“It’s been my goal and ambition to reach in excess of 200mph for the past 10 years now,” he told driving.co.uk. “It has been a long and hard wait and now I have a real chance of being the first blind driver to do this.”
Obviously, to break 200mph requires a high performance car, which comes in the form of a Nissan GT-R LM1000, custom built by Litchfield Motors. It features uprated suspension, engine and braking systems along with a strong roll cage and carbon fibre body. According to Newman the GT-R “can handle the physics involved, but is also easy enough to drive at the limit.”
Newman will be driving his custom Nissan GT-R solo while a navigator in a chase car communicates directions to him via radio link. He is confident of success, having broken 200mph in a practice run.
The daredevil was born with glaucoma and lost all sight aged eight. His thrill-seeking never diminished, though, with Newman claiming the World blind land speed record for motorcycles in 2001, and the three blind land speed records in 2003, 2005 and 2013 – as well as the first blind water speed record, set in 2013.
He hopes his record breaking attempt will raise awareness and funds for Speed of Sight, a charity that gives disabled people experience of motor sport.