Apr 17, 09
Read in November, 2008
On his deathbed, Alex Roy's father dropped tantalizing hints about the notorious Cannonball Run of the 1970s, the utterly illegal high-speed nonstop race from New York to L.A. that was nothing at all like the one portrayed in the Burt Reynolds movie.
Inspired by his father's dying words, and against the advice of his loyal, lifelong friends, Roy enters the mysterious world of road rallies and underground races—trying both to find himself and to locate The Driver, the anonymous organizer of the world's ultimate secret race—neither of which may exist. But in order to get noticed by The Driver, Roy must first become a force to be reckoned with.
In this riveting memoir, Roy straps you into his highly modified BMW M5 and takes you on a terrifying 120 mph lap of Manhattan (his version of the French cult film Rendezvous), then tackles the Gumball 3000 and the Bull run—the two most infamous road rallies in the world. He creates a character for himself and his car, Polizei Autobahn Interceptor, and they stick out among the Lamborghinis and Ferraris driven by millionaire playboys, software moguls, Arab princes, movie stars, leggy Czech supermodels, gear-heads, and tech whizzes. Out of the hundred-plus rally drivers, a select few—Alex Roy among them—compete as if these are full-on honest to-god road races, traveling from London to Morocco, from Budapest to Rome, from San Francisco to Miami at speeds approaching 200 mph.
With his M5 armed with a myriad of radar detectors, laser jammers, and police scanners, and his trunk crammed with a variety of fake uniforms, the obsessively prepared Roy evades arrest at almost every turn, wreaking havoc on his fiercest rivals, and gaining the admiration of police forces around the globe.
But his rise to the top of the rally-driving world ultimately proves hollow, until he meets a young film producer documenting the obscure post–Cannonball Run races and the holy grail of cross-country racing—the N.Y.-to-L.A. speed record of thirty-two hours and seven minutes set back in 1983. Can that time even be approached today, much less beaten? As Roy reveals in The Driver, there are reasons why no one has tried in twenty-four years. But should he try? Can he do it?
Full of hilarious, sexy, and shocking stories from a life lived at the right-hand edge of the speedometer, The Driver offers a never-before-told insider's account of the fast, dangerous, and unbelievable society that has long been offlimits to most of us. Filled with insane driving and Roy's quixotic quest to win both for his late father and for himself, The Driver is the tale of one man's insatiable drive beyond life in the fast lane.