|Born||November 23, 1971|
|Employer||Europe by Car|
|Known for||Rally racing, transcontinental driving record|
Alexander Roy (born November 23, 1971) is an American rally race driver who has won the Spirit of Gumball trophy and in 2006 set a transcontinental driving record across the United States in 31 hours, 4 minutes.
Roy distinguished himself on the Gumball 3000 and Bullrun rallies with a modified BMW M5, and later a Bentley Continental GT comically decorated as Canadian, German, Spanish, Swedish, Italian and Bahamanian police cars (complete with lights, sirens, and an inflatable sex doll) for Team Polizei 144. He won the Gumball's 2003 Spirit trophy for his car, eccentric costumes, and mock French or German interview replies. In 2004, he and his co-driver wore costumes based on the Disney science fiction film Tron, winning the Style trophy.
Roy meticulously prepares for rallies with the goal of avoiding police stops, using maps, GPS navigation, and spreadsheets. During the 2004 rally, he impersonated a police officer, with vehicle mounted flashing lamps used to perform illegal traffic stops against his competitors in the rally.
A prior record for crossing the U.S. from New York City to Los Angeles of 32 hours, 7 minutes was set in 1983 by David Diem and Doug Turner during the US Express, an unofficial successor to the Cannonball Run. The record was unofficial and never documented or confirmed. When documentary filmmaker Cory Welles called it to Roy's attention, he decided he should be the one to break it.
Roy and co-driver Jonathan Goodrich, his longtime friend, completed a practice run in December 2005, finishing with a time of 34 hours and 46 minutes. A subsequent attempt in April 2006 added a spotter plane, but the failure of his M5's fuel pump ended the run in Oklahoma. On October 7 of 2006 Roy and replacement co-driver David Maher, a New York investment banker (who was also his 2003 Gumball co-driver), embarked on another run. On this, the successful 31:04 run Roy claims 2,794 mapped miles and 2800 road miles - which he covered at an average speed of 90.1 mph. The run took place over Columbus Day weekend so as to meet minimal traffic, in part for safety; they also avoided any type of reckless driving such as tailgating, although they reached top speeds of 160 mph. Roy's route, which hit only four toll booths, three or four red lights, and only one close call with the highway patrol in Oklahoma, ended at the Santa Monica Pier.
The record was witnessed in part by Davey Johnson and Mike Spinelli, contributor and managing editor of the automobile blog Jalopnik. The time was recorded by a time clock which was punched as they left New York and flown to California before they arrived.
Another rally driver team, comprising Gumball veterans Richard Rawlings and Dennis Collins, claim they beat the record in May 2007 at 31:59 on a 2,811 mile route; they also claim that Roy did not "stick to the route" of the original Cannonball Run. Alex Roy, on the other hand, claims that almost every year's route was different, and that the only rule was total time point-to-point. The 31:04 record was set with sufficient margin to break the record even with the same route as the longest ever cross-country race. The originator of the Cannonball Run, Brock Yates, does not acknowledge any records or sanction races due to his concern that "somebody was going to get killed". Roy expresses similar concern with regard to anyone attempting to break his claimed record.
In October 2007, Roy published a book on his racing career, The Driver: My Dangerous Pursuit of Speed and Truth in the Outlaw Racing World (Harper Collins, ISBN 978-0-06-122793-6). Information on the record-setting run was withheld until publication.
Record Manhattan Lap
On September 10, 2001, Roy set the record for fastest driven lap around Manhattan. (The loop on OSM.) With a time of approximately 27 minutes, he recalls in his book, mentioned above, that he hit top speeds of 144 mph while committing 151 moving violations — enough to have his New York driver's license suspended 78 times over.
He used a route that would allow him to skip the most northerly and heavily policed sections of the city. Starting at the World Trade Center, Roy drove through the Battery Park Underpass, up the Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive, across the George Washington Bridge Interchange, down the Henry Hudson Parkway which turns into the West Side Highway finally ending back at the World Trade Center. Though he discusses the lap thoroughly in his book, the video footage has never been released.
In October 2010, a video was uploaded onto YouTube showing Roy's record being broken. The participants in the video are shown taking the same route (though the Battery Park Underpass is saved for the end) and achieving a time of 26 minutes and 3 seconds.
In August 2013, Adam "Afroduck" Tang, a Canadian national, set a new official record time of 24 minutes 7 seconds around Manhattan in a manual 2006 BMW Z4 3.0si, filmed it, and put it on YouTube with the title "Fastest Lap of Manhattan 2013". He began the loop out at 116th St and stopped at all but one of the six red lights along the way.
In April 2009 Alex Roy announced that he has signed on with Grand-Am Series team TRG, aka The Racer's Group, to sponsor a 2008 Porsche GT3 in the Grand-Am event on May 17, 2009 at Mazda Raceway Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca near Monterey, California. Henri Richard and René Villeneuve will take the wheel for Team Polizei.
Roy is the president of Europe by Car, a rental agency based in New York City that his father Henry Roy started in the post-war era by negotiating deals with European rental and leasing car companies. He worked with the YouTube show Fast Lane Daily in a segment known as "Road Testament". The show covered driver safety, track day guides, road rallying, and more. Both Roy and Road Testament have since moved to the DRIVE network, where Road Testament has different hosts (usually Mike Spinelli) and Roy hosts a new show, "Live and Let Drive," and occasionally appears in other DRIVE programming.
- FastLaneDaily (November 2010). "Gran Turismo 5 Review, Part 1 - Road Testament". FastLaneDaily. Retrieved 2010-11-25.
- "If I Drove It: 26:28 And The End Of Automotive Journalism". TTAC. April 2, 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-02.
- Charles Graeber (October 2007). "The Pedal-to-the-Metal, Totally Illegal, Cross-Country Sprint for Glory". Wired Magazine. Retrieved 2007-10-21.
- David Shaftel (2007-10-17). "Tale of Outlaw Racing, With the U.S. as a Course". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-10-21.
- Rick Leventhal (October 19, 2007). "Transcontinental Driving Record Claimed to be Broken". Fox News.com. Retrieved 2007-10-21.
- "One on one with Alex Roy". Attack of the show. 2007-10-18.
- Eliott C. McLaughlin (November 1, 2013). "Atlanta man shatters coast-to-coast 'Cannonball Run' speed record". CNN.com. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
- Bob Fredericks (October 31, 2013). "From NY to Calif. in 29 hours, and no speeding tickets". NYPost.com. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
- Joshua Rhett Miller (October 31, 2013). "Atlanta man recounts NY-to-LA drive in record 28 hours, 50 minutes". Fox News.com. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
- Russell Goldman (October 31, 2013). "New Record: Driving Across the US in Less Than 29 Hours". ABC News.com. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
- Santora, Marc (September 6, 2013). "Arrest Made in Wild Drive Around Manhattan". The New York Times.
- Alexander Roy at the Internet Movie Database
- Alex Roy on GTspirit
- Wired Magazine - "The Pedal-to-the-Metal, Totally Illegal, Cross-Country Sprint for Glory"