ellie.jones_164 Apr 05

Celebrating the ultimate motoring hero, Ayrton Senna

Celebrating the ultimate motoring hero, Ayrton Senna

Celebrating the ultimate motoring hero, Ayrton Senna

The Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show will pay tribute to the ultimate motoring hero, legendary racing driver Ayrton Senna. As part of the show’s Heroes and Heroine’s theme, Senna’s Lotus 98T will be on display at Birmingham’s NEC from 11-13 November.

No one will ever forget Senna’s achievements, from his first home victory in São Paulo, in 1991, to Donington in 1993 when he overtook Schumacher, Wendlinger, Hill and Prost in just a minute and a half. The legacy of the driver once described as a ‘romantic, gladiatorial, complex virtuoso’ on Formula One is incalculable and his Lotus is a major part of his legend; in 1986 Senna put the Lotus on pole position eight times. The 98T is also the car that marked the end of an era in Formula One racing, being the last of the famous John Player Special cars and its EF15 Renault V6 engine marked the last of the unrestricted turbos. It has been painstakingly restored over two years by Dawn Treader Performance, who are delighted to honour the ultimate motoring hero for countless enthusiasts by putting the car on display. Accompanying the 98T is Ayrton Senna Sempre, a portrait made entirely from pieces of denim jeans worn by the Senna family as the artist Ian Berry wished to intertwine the family into Ayrton’s image. This work was unveiled in Brazil on the 20th anniversary of his passing and the picture is owned by Ayrton’s mother. This homage to a driver has been displayed around the world to raise awareness of the charitable foundation The Ayrton Senna Institute, which has provided opportunities for millions of children - http://www.institutoayrtonsenna.org.br/

A further celebration of Lotus’s contribution to motorsport is a Ford 400E Thames Van that has been carefully restored to create a replica of the company’s service van of the 1960s. Team Lotus used the Thames for towing their racing cars along Europe’s motorways and the 400E’s owner George Notman is ‘a long-time Lotus and Jim Cark fan’ who was ‘looking to do something different.’ George said: “I came across some images from Peter Darnley of the Lotus Racing Service livered Thames Van and thought I would have a go at recreating it.”  Any 400E is now extremely rare and George had to search for ‘two or three years’ before he found a suitable van he could ‘set about stripping and restoring it’. The result is a vehicle that will evoke memories of so many Clark victories and one that is a tribute to George’s dedication. The Heroes and Heroines display also stars the 1933 Rolls Royce Phantom II that won a richly deserved True Grit award at this year’s Peking to Paris Rally. The Phantom is owned by Hok Kiang Sia from Malaysia who described the Rally as ‘akin to climbing Mount Everest for the antique car racing world.’  The car caught fire on the first day in the Gobi Desert and Hok and Eric had to return to the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar but rather than admit defeat they worked on the Rolls Royce for five days before spending two weeks in catching up with the rally. They finally reunited with the other competitors in the Russian city Kazan and their car has come straight from the Paris finish line to the NEC; visitors will be able to see how it’s coachworks bears the scars of an epic journey of over 9,000 miles. 

The Lotus, the Ford and the Rolls Royce all represent diverse forms of motoring heroism and their owners are proud to be a part of the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show. The unique opportunity to see all three is one that should not be missed by visitors to the NEC. See the display in Hall 5