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They say that when you’re driving, you should keep your eyes on the road. However, Mike Newman did more than that after setting a speed driving record despite being blind.
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Fifty-two-year-old Mike Newman, who was born blind, fulfilled his dream by hitting an average speed of 200.9mph driving a Nissan GT-R. The speed driving feat was achieved at the Elvington Airfield. He was guided by another driver, identified as Ian Litchfield, who sent him messages using a radio link while driving another car. Mike’s father was on the passenger seat next to Litchfield.
“The navigator tells me if I need to move left or right to keep on the runway and acts as my indicator on speed,” said Mike. “I tend to have an idea how fast I am going but most importantly the navigator tells me when to brake.”
Mike is a former bank manager who hails from Ashton-upon-Mersey, Greater Manchester. He was born blind because of glaucoma. He has already set a world speed record by land in the past by reaching 186mph in a Porsche 911 GT2. Interestingly, he holds the world water speed record by a blind person when he traveled at more than 93mph in a €300,000 Formula 1 powerboat. At that time, he received directions from powerboat racer Drew Langdon who helped him navigate through Torquay harbor in Devon.
Mike gets his inspiration from Donald Campbell, his hero and the only person to set speed records in land and in water within a single year. Now, Mike is making a name in the world of speed driving by being the first “blind” person to hold land and water speed records simultaneously.
“The 200mph barrier has been an ambition of mine ever since I broke the first record over a decade ago. It has been a long and hard wait and now I am the first blind driver to do this,” said Mike.
Mike drove a custom made car of 1000bhp which was built by Litchfield Motors. “We needed a car easy enough to drive at the limit,” said the record breaker.
When not driving, Mike enjoys spending time with his two daughters from wife Christine. “It’s so good to see him out there enjoying himself. I’m extremely proud, I don’t know how he does it,” said 52-year-old Christine.
The world-breaking speed venture is Mike’s way to get the public’s attention to the charity which he had founded. Dubbed as “Speed of Sight,” the charity is into building dual controlled track cars that would give people who have various disabilities the unique chance to feel liberated by getting their hands on the wheel. This type of chance can be something that they have done for the first time ever in their lives.
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