Blind Driver Sets New Land-Speed Record – 10/11/2008

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A Belgian by the name of Luc Costermans set a new world record for blind drivers on October 11, 2008. Costermans was driving a borrowed Lamborghini Gallardo at a straight stretch of airstrip near Marseilles, France when he recorded the speed of 192mph. He was able to succeed, thanks to the help of sophisticated navigational equipment and directions given by a human copilot who was aboard the passenger seat of the Lamborghini that he was driving.

Costermans broke the record which was set by British driver Mike Newman three years before. In comparison, Newman was without a navigator and a copilot when he made his attempt. His only help came from his father-in-law who agreed to zoom around the track behind him while giving him instructions over the radio. Newman cranked up the speed of the 507-horsepower BMW M5, reaching a top speed of 178.5mph. He averaged a speed of 167.32mph over a measured mile. He broke a record that he himself made two years ago – the 144.7 mph he set on a borrowed Jaguar three days after he learned how to drive.

Newman and Costermans were considered daredevils. They pushed their limits and drove all sorts of cars whenever they could. Aside from driving fast cars, Newman was gifted in driving a motorcycle and became the fastest blind motorcycle driver in 2001 at the speed of 89 mph, recorded four days after learning how to ride one. Five years later, Costermans was a piloting an airplane all around France while being accompanied by an instructor and a navigator. Like them, Englishman Steve Cunningham set speed records by land, sea, and air. Cunningham broke previous land record at the speed of 147 mph in 1999 while driving a £70,000 Chrysler Viper. He was also the holder of the sea-speed record by a blind sailor at the time that this happened. With the help of advanced talking navigational software, he circumnavigated the United Kingdom by air in 2000, becoming the very first blind person to have done so.

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