Blind Man Sets Out to Drive 200 mph in C6 Corvette

A blinded former drag racer is hoping to see the far side of 201 miles per hour. From behind the wheel of a 2008 C6 Corvette that’s been specially modified to help him beat the existing blind speed record.

Dan Parker lost his sight in a 175 mph crash behind the wheel of a 1963 Corvette back in 2012. At the time, Parker was a former American Drag Racing League World Champion, and would likely still be drag racing today. But Parker hasn’t let the obstacle get in the way of trying to smash records while driving a car. Or while driving a motorcycle.

Car and Driver reports on this latest record attempt and points out that just a year after losing his sight Parker was the first blind person to run a motorcycle at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Yes, a motorcycle.

This time the plan is to break the blind speed record, set by Mike Newman in 2013 at 200.9 mph.

He’s doing it with a modified C6, bought as a salvage car with no interior or engine. It’s now painted the same color as the car he crashed, and it’s much more powerful than stock. There’s a 570 wheel-horsepower V8 and a custom nitrous kit to add to that. Plus a special suspension and a full roll cage. Uniquely, it has a three-muffler custom exhaust to make it quiet enough that Parker can hear his guidance system.

Because to help him keep the car pointed in the right direction, Parker needed a custom guidance system designed by his friend Patrick Johnson. To use it, first, the team plots a series of points down the centerline of the route. Then an in-car system uses audio cues to tell Parker how far he is from that centerline.

“Once they tell me the course is clear at the starting line, no one talks to me throughout the whole run,” Parker told Car and Driver. “The guidance system is doing everything.”

If he strays off-course more than 20 feet, it shuts the car down. If he hits more than 150 mph in testing, it pulls the ‘chute to stop the car.

“It feels exciting,” Parker said about his mission. “Yes, it is more dangerous than anything I’ve done before, obviously because I can’t see anything. I’m 100 percent blacked out. But this gives me a purpose. This gives me a reason to push my limits. I enjoy the technical side of racing, the designing of a race car, the problem-solving. I tell people that I want to be treated as a racer, not as a sideshow.”