bf sv nation riding with Mario
SONOMA, Calif.--It's one thing to get all fire-suited up, chat with
folks, pose for pictures and video and strap the helmet on. It's quite another
to sit still, two feet behind Mario Andretti in a two-seat,
open-wheel Indy car in the seconds before the racing legend
blasts you off around the road course.
At first, I was surprised that there wasn't a lot of thumpa-thumpa-thumpa coming from my
chest. I thought about how snug I was in the back of that rig,
strapped in and sitting in a crouch sort of like a baseball catcher. Not a
lot of room for movement. It felt safe. The smell of methanol
enveloped us. I wished the fog would lift and the sun would
come out. That's Mario Andretti in front of me. I think he's a grandfather.
But then my mind paddle-shifted to the moments ahead: In a second, we'd scream out of the
pits into the easy left-hand Turn 1 of the Sonoma Raceway course and
then charge uphill into the tight right-hand turn. Zero-to-whatever
in 50 yards. Would I barf? [Learn more about the Indy 500 at the Littelfuse Speed2Design site.]
Then, the pit crewman's answer to my question ("How fast on the
straight-away?") echoed in my head: "About 150." I've driven a car
over 100 mph several times and sat in a bullet train in France
(200mph+), but never in my life have sat in such a confined space,
so intimate with the road and gone so fast and had zero control over
my fate. There was no way out at this point. I was trapped.
And suddenly we were off, and there was no going back.
You know, I can't really complain. I do wish I had more time to spend with the engineers who hang out not only at the track but on these promo events.
I had a weekend with them at Indy (fabulous group of guys). But not much time this weekend. I did manage a few minutes' chat with one engineer who works for a company that makes those terror attack-protection shields that pop up out of the roadway. I can only imagine how mind-boggling that engineering must be!
But hey, no whining from me. I'm just glad I survived that lap.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.