New Book Review – The Driver by Alex Roy

I finished up a new book last night, The Driver: My Dangerous Pursuit of Speed and Truth in the Outlaw Racing World by Alex Roy. So this guy Alex Roy is a rich New Yorker who decided to take up endurance road rallying. Well, that’s nothing new, dozens of the idly rich take part each year in events like the Gumball Rally and the Bullrun. These typically consist of tooling around Europe in supercars with parties and vast debauchery after each day’s driving. The difference with Roy is that he actually tries to win these events.

And he does so by using a BMW M5, tricked out to look like a police car (complete w/lights and sirens) and filled with radio scanners, laser jammers, GPS systems, night-vision cameras, gyro-stabilized binoculars and on and on and on. He also occasionally uses a chase plane to scout for police and traffic.

The book climaxes with Roy’s attempt to break the New York to Los Angeles speed record as was done on the legendary Cannonball Run outlaw race (of the film’s fame) during the 70s. Now Roy would tell you this himself, but he is an absolute lunatic. You can’t imagine the amount of planning (and money) that goes into the efforts, and by the end, even he is beginning to have doubts of the point of all this.

But there is a point and that point is speed and the sensation of doing something faster and better than anyone on earth had ever done. It just so happens that rather than doing it in a stadium or a laboratory he chooses to do on highways at 120 mph.

I sure as hell wouldn’t want to do what he does, but it sure was fun to read about.


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