Meet Aaron Prevost, age 20. He’s a skilled mechanic who specializes in mainly European cars, and he’s been working on them since the tender age of 10. And yet he can’t drive a car—on account that he’s legally blind. Prevost was born with a damaged optical nerve, and attends a school for the blind with his older brother, who has the same condition. As a mechanic, he’s fully aware of the difference between knowing how something works and feeling it firsthand. But only now does he get to experience the act of driving, something we tend to take for granted, at Mosport International Raceway behind the wheel of a new Porsche Boxster.
Rick Bye is Porsche Canada’s press fleet manager, and also an accomplished Porsche race driver who took the time to teach Prevost the basics of driving. “Aaron was a perfect student,” said Bye. After taking Prevost around for a few fast laps, Bye felt confident enough to hand Prevost the keys.
The difficulties that a learning racecar driver faces are undoubtedly exacerbated by the lack of sight. But Prevost manages to preserve the car, their lives, and his dignity by performing almost flawlessly—measuring the nuances of the track perfectly, telling Prevost exactly where to start turning and how much gas to give the Porsche. At the end of the day, the pit crew was just as astonished as the two, and Prevost finally gets a feel of what it’s like to drive the machines he works on.