It was late in 1982, and 22 year old Brazilian Ayrton Senna da Silva was due to return home to Brazil having won both the British and European Formula Ford 2000 Championships. There was some question as to whether he would ever return to the UK to continue racing, such was the pressure to join the family business. Until a phone call in late 1982 from Dick Bennetts of West Surrey Racing. Senna’s offer was a Formula 3 race at Thruxton in the team’s Ralt RT3 that Enrique “Quique” Mansilla had taken to 2nd overall in the British Championship that year. On November 13th 1982, Ayrton Senna turned up at Thruxton having never raced a Formula 3 car, put RT3 #291 on pole, won the race and claimed fastest lap. He beat 1982 F3 champion Tommy Byrne that day.
Senna was no longer going home, he was in F3 with West Surrey for 1983, a championship he would win… the rest is history.
291 would subsequently be purchased by Austrian Helmut Marko (now famous as the man behind the Red Bull Development program) for his young driver and fellow Austrian Gerhard Berger, He would take the car to 7th overall in the 1983 FIA European Formula 3 Championship. Of course Berger would end up Senna’s teammate and great friend at McLaren on a few years later.
Chassis 291 is a truly important piece of Ayrton Senna’s history, and represents a pivotal moment in the career of the most mythical racing driver of all time.
POA ENQUIRE ABOUT THIS VEHICLE