Growing up in southeast Michigan meant one of three things were likely true: Somebody in my family worked for one of the Big Three, I likely don’t live in Detroit, and I was a devout fan of University of Michigan football.
All three were facts for me, and living in such close proximity to the Motor City meant its influence on the surrounding communities was immense. Ford practically owned Dearborn, Mich.
I recall visiting the Henry Ford/Greenfield Village area and an attraction called The Spirit of Ford. I had to be 10 at the time, eager to immerse myself in all things automotive. It was basically an exhibit on the history of Ford and where it was going, with numerous futuristic and improbable concepts on hand. Think of it as a tangible Ford advertisement that someone thought was a good idea before they were promptly fired.
One ride was a 4-D simulation of a Formula One car rocketing around a racetrack. I, eager, lunged at the opportunity for such an experience. I remember strapping myself into the wraparound seat, a smidgen too small for the full enjoyment of the ride, but legally tall enough to not sue.
The room darkened and the engine roared to life, the sound pumped through speakers in the headrests of the seats. The seat settled, with hydraulic hisses emanating below me as we got into position. I was flung back into my seat as the car accelerated, the seats simulating the gs of the car the best it could.
We bounced and bounded around the track, feeling every road-going imperfection, heads jostling back and forth, forwards and backwards. My neck took a beating. My father opined afterward that the ride was too rough and didn’t seem real, adding that the road was smooth and such jostling was just an effect.
Watching the onboard video of David Hauser at the Course de côte de St. Ursanne from 2013 reminded me of that day in my life. You can see Hauser’s head jostling almost violently as he twists his way up the hill.
The short, two-minute clip is insane, the tires spinning inches from guardrails and perilous edges and embankments. Around the 1:15 mark there is a sweeping right turn, the edge of the road melting into the countryside, the only barrier from spinning off the road lying in Hauser’s skill.
How fast do you think Hauser got on his hillclimb event in the GP2 Formula car, because we know he’s got cojones of steel sitting between his legs.