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Silverstone Festival to honour Ayrton Senna with unprecedented Formula 1 spectacle

Words: Elliott Hughes | Photo: Silverstone Festival

The Silverstone Festival honors the life and career of a three-time award winner Formula 1 world champion Ayrton Senna An unprecedented race car and auto show will be held from August 23 to 25, 2024.

The 20-car display commemorates the 30th anniversary of Senna’s fatal crash during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, when his car went off the track at the Tamburello corner on lap seven.

Curated with the full support of the Senna family, the collection begins with three karts that Ayrton raced in his native Brazil in the late 1970s.

The Toleman was a mid-table car that year, but that didn’t stop Senna putting it on the podium three times

The Toleman was a mid-table car that year, but that didn’t stop Senna putting it on the podium three times

At the age of 21, Ayrton moved to England to compete in single-seater racing after his early successes in Brazilian karting. His arrival in Europe was heralded in 1981 by two Formula Ford 1600 titles and a pole position on his first visit to Silverstone – appropriately, the place where he achieved the most wins in his career.

Senna then moved on to Formula Ford 2000 and dominated both the European and British Championships, taking 22 wins from 28 races. Both the yellow Van Diemen Formula Ford 1600 and 2000 racers will be on display at the Festival.

The next car Ayrton used as he continued his climb up the motorsport ladder was the Ralt RT3 in the British Formula 3 Championship. This car, which was put on display, was driven to victory by the Brazilian in 12 of the 20 races in 1983.

In 1984, Senna Formula 1 Toleman made his debut with the TG184. The Toleman was a mid-table car that year, but this did not stop Ayrton taking three podiums on his way to an impressive ninth place in the World Championship.

This car will be on display alongside the Lotus, Williams and McLaren Grand Prix cars in which Senna won a total of 41 victories and three Drivers’ Championship titles in his career.

To add to the appeal of the exhibition, the Festival will display two rally cars that Ayrton tested in the forests of Wales for a magazine article: the Metro 6R4 and the Ford Sierra Cosworth.

Senna will forever be remembered as he is now: Honda NSXThanks to his role in developing the supercar for the Japanese manufacturer during his time at McLaren, an example he has driven extensively will join the throng of race cars on display.

Ayrton’s car will lead a special NSX track parade at midday on Friday, August 23. Several of the Brazilian legend’s race cars will also join the on-track celebrations throughout the weekend, while the full 20-car collection will be on display in Silverstone’s International Paddock throughout the three-day Festival.

Complementing the car selection is a motoring exhibition organised by the Silverstone Museum. Many of the items have never been on public display before, including race-winning gloves, the steering wheel of Senna’s JPS Lotus 97T and a few of his iconic daytime-glowing yellow helmets.

Event director Nick Wigley said: “We are proud to bring together such a comprehensive display of the cars that the great Ayrton Senna raced in. It encourages motorsport fans to come together and celebrate one of the greatest talents our sport has ever seen.”

“Silverstone was a very special track for Senna, where he achieved many victories and we are honoured to pay tribute to a true legend in such a significant year.”

Click for tickets and more information about Silverstone Festival Here.