Senna Exhibition at Donington Park
One of the biggest draws to this years Donington Historic Festival – Click here for Photo Gallery – had to be the Ayrton Senna exhibition!
2013 marks the 30th Anniversary of the first time Senna got behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car and it all began at Donington Park when in 1983 he had his first ever test in Keke Rosberg’s Monaco GP-winning Williams-Cosworth.
1983 Williams Cosworth FW08C
Ayrton Senna’s times and approach impressed Frank Williams, but it was with Toleman that Senna chose to start his first year in F1 with the following year; and a motor-racing legend was born.
1984 Toleman TG-184-01 Hart Turbo
The 1985 Season saw him take another step forward up the grid, replacing Nigel Mansell at Lotus. He took his first ever Pole-Position in this car at Estoril by over 1 second. Come the race, Senna put on a wet weather master class; leading every lap as well as setting the fastest lap-time as he took his first ever Grand Prix win by over 1 minute.
1985 JPS Lotus 97T
Senna joined the McLaren team in 1988 and went on to win 3 World Drivers Championships with the Woking based outfit in 1988, 1990 and 1991.
10 years after his first test there and now a triple World Champion, Senna returned to Donington Park in 1993 for the European GP, as the circuit hosted its first Grand Prix in 55 years. It was a race that would become one of his most iconic. Torrential rain made the track treacherous, but starting 4th behind the dominant Williams of Prost and Hill (as well as the Benetton of Schumacher), Senna drove as though racing in the dry. He took the lead by the end of Lap 1, but this would be swapped back and forth with Prost as the circuit dried, only to be rained on again. But as everyone else dived into the pits for wet weather tyres, Ayrton chose to stay out on slicks. By the end of a dramatic race, he took the win by an incredible 80 seconds ahead of Damon Hill in 2nd place!
1993 McLaren MP4/8
Ayrton Senna would sadly be killed the following year during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. However his supreme talent and life-loving personality had already established him in the hearts and minds of motor racing fans all over the world. He remains an inspiration to this day.