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Blind land speed record

A BLIND daredevil has smashed a world speed record after reaching an astonishing 200mph on an airfield near York.

Father-of-two Mike Newman, 52, who was born blind, reached 200.9mph at Elvington Airfield yesterday in a modified Nissan GT-R, while guided by a navigator over a radio link.

Mike, who set the previous world land speed record for a blind person by driving a Porsche 911 GT2 at 186mph, is already the first person since his hero Donald Campbell to hold simultaneous land and water speed records.

He said: “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.”

The record-breaker, who is an ex-bank manager from Greater Manchester, used two cars in the attempt; he drove a lead car on his own, while a navigator driving a ‘chase car’ behind talked to him via radio.

“The navigator tells me if I need to move left or right to keep on the runway and acts as my indicator on speed,” he said. “I tend to have an idea how fast I am going but most importantly the navigator tells me when to brake.”

He said he wanted to draw attention to the charity he had founded, Speed of Sight, which built and ran purpose-built dual controlled track cars to allow people with a broad range of disabilities the chance to similarly liberate themselves by getting behind the wheel – sometimes for the first time in their lives.