Racing is a huge part of the lives of many gearheads. Once they have been bitten by the motorsports bug, there’s nothing that will pry them out of the race car. Of course racing is a dangerous activity, and it can have some serious consequences. Back in 2012, Dan Parker suffered a crash while drag racing his 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, which unfortunately left him blind. For many folks, this would be the end of their racing career. But Dan Parker isn’t like most people. According to the National Federation of the Blind, he’s the first blind person to independently drive a vehicle at 50 mph, 100 mph and 150 mph. Now though, Dan is gunning to become the fastest blind man on Earth with his home-built C6 Chevrolet Corvette. Here’s what you need to know about this absolute badass and the speed record he’s chasing.
According to a report from Automotive News, Dan Parker is actively seeking to take the Guinness World Record for the fastest speed for a car driven blindfolded. The record is currently set at 200.5 mph, and was achieved by a lad in the U.K. named Mike Newton. He will attempt to break this record with his 800 horsepower C6 Chevrolet Corvette, and with a little help from his partners at Cruise. Don’t let the GM autonomous vehicle division’s involvement fool you however, Parker will be the unassisted wheelman for the stunt.
“Of course, for me the blindfold will not be necessary,” Parker told Automotive News. “My 2008 Corvette is a purpose-built race car and I designed every aspect of it. With the work of the Blind Driver Challenge, we will not only demonstrate that a blind person can drive a vehicle safely, but that we can do it at over 200 mph. Together we hope to inspire blind people and to demonstrate our capacity, make history by setting a new world record and show the potential of new technology like self-driving cars to help blind people break barriers in everyday mobility.”
In order to complete the Blind Driver Challenge’s 200+ mph pass, Parker’s C6 Chevrolet Corvette has been outfitted with a custom guidance system that provides him with auditory cues. It’s not entirely unlike the tools he uses in his home shop, where he creates products for his company called The Blind Machinist.
We could all really learn something from Dan Parker, particularly as it relates to being driven and determined. A racing accident changed his life forever, yet he continues to use racing to help inspire others. He’s also quite patriotic it seems, as he felt that an American should be the one to hold this particular speed record. Here’s to hoping that he smashes the record, and that other folks are inspired to get into motorsports regardless of the limitations they may face. Be sure to check out Dan’s business too, as it helps to fund the project and make that Corvette all-the-more fast.