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Ayrton Senna Career Parade: exceptional on all counts!

Those nostalgic for the “F1 of yesteryear” and all fans of Ayrton Senna, whatever their age, will be attending an exceptional parade in honour of the great Brazilian champion between 12.50 and 13.20 on Saturday 11 May. The Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM), in close collaboration with the Instituto Ayrton Senna, Lotus Héritage and the McLaren Academy, has put together a dream line-up recalling the major stages of his journey to the pinnacle of motor sport…

Senna’s go-kart in 1977

At the wheel of this go-kart, 17-year-old Ayrton Senna became South American Champion in 1977, during a race organised in Uruguay, in the town of San José. He could not carry race number 42, his favourite at the time, because of the rules of the race, and so he carried number 7. Young Senna also finished 2nd at the Brazilian Championship, on the Interlagos track. This go-kart now belongs to McLaren F1 Team Principal Zak Brown. It will be driven in Monaco by Gabriel Bortoleto, a young Brazilian of the McLaren Drivers Academy, who was crowned FIA Formula 3 Champion last year.

Formula Ford 2000: Senna’s Van Diemen RF82 in 1982

After a very successful 1981 season (12 wins in 20 Formula Ford 1600 races, British Champion), Senna discovered the Van Diemen RF82 equipped with a much more powerful 2-litre engine. At just 22 years of age, he went on to win a record number of races (22) and the European Championship title. This 1982 Van Diemen will be driven in Monaco by Spain’s Cristina Gutiérrez, another member of the McLaren Drivers Academy.

Formula 3: the Ralt RT3 at the 1983 Macau Grand Prix

The 1983 Formula 3 season was dominated by an insatiable Ayrton Senna, despite the formidable competition from a young Englishman, Martin Brundle, who gave him a hard time. The Brazilian came even closer to F1 by finishing British Champion with 12 victories. On November 20, 1983, Senna rounded off his masterclass with a prestigious victory at the Macau Grand Prix, at the wheel of this Toyota-powered Ralt RT3 entered by West Surrey Racing team and local billionaire Teddy Yip. The driver of this F3 Ralt in the Parade will be Irishman Eddie Irvine, who raced against Senna and won 4 times in F1, finishing on the podium 26 times.

Formula 1: the 1984 Toleman TG184

This was the first F1 car driven by Ayrton Senna in the World Championship. Designed by Rory Byrne, it was very heavy, without power steering and powered by a British turbo engine, a Hart with around 600bhp. He scored three podiums in this car, including his famous 2nd place in Monaco, behind Alain Prost, in torrential rain that prompted Jacky Ickx to wave the red flag. They remain the only three podium finishes in the history of the British team founded by Ted Toleman, a road haulier who died in April 2024. This Toleman will be driven in Monaco by Swede Stefan Johansson, Senna’s team-mate in 1984.

Formula 1: the 1985 Lotus 97T

Powered by a 1.5-litre Renault V6 turbo engine developing 760bhp, the Lotus 97T (T for turbo) was the F1 car in which the future “Magic Senna” won his first two Grands Prix, at Estoril and Spa-Francorchamps. It was equipped with several liquid crystal displays in the cockpit, a novelty at the time. It was a delight for Senna, who was very data-hungry. This now legendary single-seater also enabled the Brazilian to take his first seven pole positions, all in 1985. In Monaco, this Lotus 97T will be driven by Belgian Thierry Boutsen, who has won three times in F1 and who finished on the podium 15 times.

Formula 1: the 1990 McLaren MP4/5B

This McLaren MP4/5B was driven in 1990 by Ayrton Senna and his new team-mate Gerhard Berger, following Alain Prost’s departure to Ferrari. It was an evolution of the previous season’s MP4/5, as the British team did not want to create a new car, believing that the 1989 chassis was a good base on which to continue. It was fitted with a new Honda V10 engine, the RA100E, which developed an average of 700 bhp, depending on its configuration. This model took 6 victories and 12 pole positions that year, which concluded with two new world titles, drivers’ and constructors’, for Senna and McLaren. With a spectacular finale at Suzuka, when the Brazilian deliberately eliminated his great French rival. In the streets of Monaco, this amazing single-seater will be driven by Bruno Senna, the nephew of the three-time world champion, who competed in 46 F1 Grands Prix.

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