Silverstone Festival To Honour Ayrton Senna

This summer’s Silverstone Festival (23-25 August) will honour one of motor sport’s most iconic drivers: Ayrton Senna. In a record-breaking career, the legendary Brazilian scored more race wins at Silverstone than at any other circuit in the world. 

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Now paying tribute to all his many incredible successes – and with the full support of both the Senna family and Senna Brands – the Festival is assembling what it hopes will be the biggest and best collection of cars raced by the triple World Champion ever to be brought together in one place. This incredible display will feature many of Senna’s revered racers from Formula 1 as well as from his earlier formative years in a fitting celebration of his legacy.

The timing of this exceptional celebration is both significant and poignant. It is 40 years since the young Brazilian burst onto the F1 scene with the Toleman team in 1984 and 30 years since the tragic accident when racing at Imola on Sunday 1 May 1994.

Senna left an indelible mark on Formula 1 in his 10-year career, winning 41 Grands Prix with Lotus and then with McLaren, the team with which he took three World Championship titles.

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Further confirming his extraordinary speed and uncompromising talent behind the wheel, Senna also set a then record of 65 pole positions and won an unrivalled six times on the unforgiving harbourside streets of Monte Carlo. Senna is still hailed as one of Formula 1’s greatest drivers and revered right around the world by drivers and fans alike.

The Brazilian’s record at Silverstone is every bit as impressive. Although he only managed to win the British Grand Prix once – with McLaren in 1988 – he racked up more victories on the superfast Northamptonshire circuit than at any other track during his entire formula racing career.

Having come to Europe at the age of 21 to start his single-seater career competing in British Formula Ford 1600 with Van Diemen, Senna first raced at Silverstone in June 1981. Wasting no time, he took pole position and was then embroiled in a thrilling, slip-streaming duel for the lead on the full Grand Prix circuit, only missing out on a famous debut victory when his arch-rival (Rick Morris) bounced over the old Woodcote chicane on the final lap to steal victory.

b366c1d3 487c 90d1 5844 418cfb81bf59Undeterred, the young Senna bounced back to win all three FF2000 races staged at Silverstone in 1982 and then the following season took an incredible six victories en route to being crowned as British F3 Champion.

Back then he was competing as Ayrton Senna de Silva – a combination of both his mother’s and father’s names – and many of the headline writers at the time, renamed the circuit as ‘Silvastone’.

Senna’s legacy is still seen at Silverstone today as, in the aftermath of Imola, the FIA and the GPDA undertook a review of the circuit speeds around the world and several of Silverstone’s faster corners were reprofiled making the track safer for all those competing.

“There could be no better circuit to celebrate the outstanding achievements of Ayrton Senna than Silverstone,” commented Nick Wigley, Silverstone Festival Event Director. “Ayrton won ten times from his 20 starts at Silverstone and we will honour that extraordinary success with the biggest and best collection of Senna cars ever displayed together. We are deeply privileged to have the full support of the Senna family and will be working with them to ensure this very special celebration honours one of the sport’s greatest stars in fitting and fantastic style.”

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“Ayrton always had a very strong connection with Silverstone. His history in motorsport includes memorable victories at this circuit, and he raced for British teams. We are excited to participate in the Festival this year, which is so special as we celebrate 30 years of Senna’s legacy,” said Bianca Senna, CEO of Senna Brands and the triple champion’s niece. “It is definitely a tribute that will move fans worldwide.”

Stirring further Senna memories, this year’s bumper line-up of 20 stunning retro races includes two spectacular showdowns for the F3 Classic Interseries – packed grids which star evocative Formula 3 cars harking back to that memorable year in 1983 when Senna scored those six wins at ‘Silvastone’.

Other highlights on the packed three-day programme revive all the golden eras of Formulas 1 and 2, sportscar, GT and touring car racing.

Providing excellent value for money, all tickets give access to both racing paddocks, open trackside grandstands plus an incredible programme of demos, displays, live music and interactive entertainment over the Bank Holiday weekend.

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Off-track highlights include  a Fan Zone featuring F1 team show cars, high energy stunt shows in the Shift & Drift Zone, a Foodie Fest with chef demos and Tasting Tent masterclasses, and live music on all three evenings. Sophie Ellis-Bextor tops the bill on Friday evening, followed by Brit Award-winning Busted on Saturday and celebrated singer, songwriter and television personality, Olly Murs on Sunday.

A wide range of tickets – including camping, hospitality options and Car Club Display Packages – are available with best prices for those booking now. Full details of all tickets  here.

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