Plans to celebrate Ayrton Senna at the 2013 Donington Historic Festival (May 3rd, 4th, 5th) are well underway, with a mixture of static displays in the Paddock and on-track demonstrations of cars which played a significant role in the career of the late triple World Champion already confirmed for the event.
Organisers are working on appearances of further Senna cars, along with a selection of memorabilia and Keith Sutton’s personal collection of photographs from Senna’s early career.
From F3 to F1…
In 1982 Ayrton Senna won the British and European F2000 Championships, and was rewarded with a drive in the season-end F3 race in a Ralt RT3. He famously won the race, and that very RT3 will be demonstrated on the track at the Donington Historic Festival.
During his F3 Championship-winning season in 1983, Senna enjoyed his first-ever drive in an F1 car, testing Keke Rosberg’s Monaco GP-winning Williams-Cosworth FW08C at Donington Park. That very same FW08C is now a star feature of the Donington Collection, and this important machine is coming out of the museum for the Festival.
As a result of his impressive F1 tests in 1983, Senna moved into Grand Prix racing full-time in 1984, and his first Formula One race car – the famous 1984 Toleman TG-184-02 Hart turbo – will also be displayed at the Festival. This is the car that Senna drove to a spectacular second place in the 1984 Monaco GP, overtaking Alain Prost for the lead but being robbed of his first Grand Prix win when heavy rain stopped the race the following lap.
Also on display will be the 1986 JPS Lotus Renault Turbo in which Senna won the US GP at Detroit. The young Brazilian started the race in pole position, but tyre problems saw him initially fall back to eighth place, with the race lead changing hands six times between five drivers before – equipped with fresh tyres – Senna carved his way through the field to take victory.
…and the Welsh forests!
And there will also be two unusual ‘Senna cars’ on display – an MG Metro 6R4 and the Brooklyn Motorsport Ford Sierra RS Cosworth. These were among five rally cars that Ayrton Senna test-drove in a Welsh forest in November 1986, for a feature that appeared in Car and Car Conversions magazine. At the end of the day, Senna summed up his experience of these very different type of competition cars: “I think, overall, it has been much more exciting than I expected. Much more involving. I didn’t feel the time going by. It went so fast because I was finding out, and learning more and going harder and harder. Having some moments… it was very exciting. Feeling the car in the air and then bottoming. Something I have never experienced before in a road car. In a road car you go easy, eh?” The Cosworth will form part of the live rally demonstration on the Melbourne Loop.
The Senna tribute will be one of the highlights of a spectacular weekend of historic motorsport, with over 400 race cars spanning seven decades battling it out on the track, plus live historic rally car demos on the Melbourne Loop. And Senna fans can see even more of their hero’s racing machinery if they pay a visit to the Donington Collection over the weekend, where they will find a McLaren MP4/5/B-1 that Senna drove during his World Championship-winning 1990 season.
Advance ticket prices for the Festival start at £12 for the Friday, £20 for Saturday or Sunday and just £36 for a three-day weekend ticket. On-the-gate prices will be £15 for Friday, £25 for Saturday or Sunday and £45 for the three-day weekend, with Festival tickets also giving two-for-one entry to the Donington Collection. Children aged under 16 are admitted for free.
Tickets can be bought via www.doningtonhistoric.com and through the 24-hour ticket hotline 0844 873 7355.Ayrton Senna, Classic Cars, Donington Historic Festival, Williams FW08C