Blind Man Sets Top Gear’s Ninth-Fastest Lap Time In A Toyota GT86
When Dr. Amit Patel lost his sight in 2013 he had more than his vision taken away from him. He also lost one of his greatest pleasures: his freedom to drive.
In 2018, Amit contacted Toyota Great Britain with a simple request: Help me drive again. So that’s exactly what they did. And not just in any car, but in Top Gear’s Reasonably Fast Car…a red Toyota GT86. Amit piloted it around the show’s famous Dunsfold test track in 1:46.58. That put him ninth on the show’s celebrity leaderboard!
Not only did Amit have to account for driving minus his vision but he had to take into account for the added weight of his driving instructor riding shotgun. Mark Watkins is a performance driving instructor with experience working with the visually impaired.
“Being on the Top Gear test track, driving the GT86, dream come true,” said Amit. “You know, you always imagine doing this in a Reasonably Fast Car. You watch Top Gear and you kind of think, ‘Oh, I can do better than that,’ but the fact that I’m actually doing this as a blind person is incredible.”
To make it happen, Watkins acted as Amit’s eyes, giving him verbal instructions as they go. For those of you who might be wondering, Watkins didn’t have an extra brake pedal tucked in his footwell, either. This is just an incredible video, way to go Amit and Toyota!