Ayrton Senna was born exactly 60 years ago, on March 21, 1960. An international idol due to his achievements as an F1 three-time champion and also because of the legacy he left off the track, the Brazilian stood out for his wins, records and, especially, for his determination, persistence and capacity to overcome obstacles.
On such a special date, we have prepared a list with 60 facts and curiosities stories about Senna, in order to remember why he’s considered the best driver ever and an inspiration to million of fans all over the world.
60 facts and curiosities celebrating Ayrton Senna’s 60th birthday
1- Senna won the Brazilian F1 GP in 1991 and 1993.
2- Senna won a race with his brakes practically gone when racing in Formula Ford, in 1982.
3- Senna is a three-time F1 champion (1988, 1990 and 1991).
4- Senna was a runner-up in the Karting World Championship twice (1979 and 1980).
5- Senna is the King of Monaco, with 6 wins in the Principality, a record that still stands today in F1.
6- Senna is the only Brazilian driver who has ever won in Monaco.
7- Senna has 65 pole-positions in F1 history.
8- Senna won 41 races in F1.
9- Senna became Champion of the British F3 in 1983.
10- Senna started his F1 career at team Toleman, in 1984.
11- Senna’s first podium finish took place in Monaco, in the 1984 season.
12- Senna won for the first time in F1 on April 21, 1985, driving a Lotus, in Portugal.
13- Senna was the first driver ever to secure a pole position in a car with active suspension, at the 1987 San Marino GP.
14- Senna was on the podium 80 times as an F1 driver. And, in half of these times, he was standing at the top.
15- Senna posted 19 fastest laps in F1.
16- Senna raced in 161 F1 GPs.
17 – Known for his skill on wet tracks, Senna didn’t have a good result when he raced in the rain for the first time, driving a go-kart. That’s why he decided to train every time it rained, until he became a master in wet conditions.
18 – Senna still holds the record for most consecutive first row starts in F1: 24, between 1988 and 1989.
19- As the King of Pole-Positions, Ayrton Senna tended to win every time he started in the first, second or third row. His worst placement at the start of a race that he eventually won was a fifth position, at Phoenix, USA, in 1990.
20- However, it’s worth remembering that, when racing in Monaco for the first time, Senna came out of the 13th place at the starting grid and was almost surely going to win, had the race not been interrupted, He ended up finishing in second, with Alain Prost as the winner.
21 – Senna holds the record for most pole-positions at the same circuit (8, at San Marino). Hamilton and Schumacher are tied with him, at other circuits.
22 – In what many consider the best first lap ever in Formula One, at Donington Park – 1993, Senna overtook Shumacher, Wendlinger, Hill and Prost before taking the lead before the initial lap was over.
23 – Senna has led more than 2,900 laps in F1.
24- Senna set the record of 9 wins in a row in the British F3, in 1983.
25- Senna led a free practice session, driving a Toleman, at Brands Hatch, in 1984.
26- Senna won his three world titles at Suzuka, in Japan.
27- Senna is the greatest winner in the history of McLaren, with 35 wins
28- Senna holds the record for most pole-positions as a McLaren driver – 46 out of a total 65 poles in his career.
29- Senna is the most successful Brazilian driver in F1: with 41 wins.
30- Senna holds the record for most Brazilian pole-positions in F1, with 65. More than twice the amount achieved by the driver in second place.
31- Taking into account all the categories in which Senna raced at the mythical Brands Hatch circuit, in England, he won 6 times, had 10 podium finishes and scored 4 pole-positions.
32- Ayrton Senna’s favorite track was Spa-Francorchamps, in Belgium, where he won five times in F1.
33- Even as Alain Prost’s rival, Senna was idolized in France. in 1994, he kicked off a friendly soccer match between the Brazilian nations squad and a mix of PSG and Bordeaux players, receiving a standing ovation.
34- The race in which Senna took part the most was the Brazilian GP, with 11 starts.
35- Silverstone was the circuit where Ayrton Senna has won the most in his career- 10 times in total. Six in Formula Ford (between 1981 and 1982), three in the British F3 (1983) and one in F1 (1988).
36- Jet ski, water-ski, tennis and running were some of Senna’s favorite sports.
37- Senna took more than 8,200 laps in F1, which amounts to approximately 40 thousand kilometers (24,800 miles), or a trip around the Earth’s Equator.
38- At the 1985 Austrian GP, Senna started in 14th place and was still able to climb on the podium, finishing the race in second place.
39 – The Brazilian also holds the record for most wins after leading from start to finish, with 19. Hamilton is tied with Senna
40- Senna reached the podium of the Brazilian GP four times: 1986, 1990, 1991 and 1993.
41- At the 1993 Brazilian GP, Senna was carried in the arms of the people after a moving victory in his home country. The crowd at the Interlagos Raceway, in São Paulo, stormed the track to celebrate with the driver.
42- At the 1991 Brazilian GP, Senna had problems with his McLaren gearbox during the final laps and struggled to the end, winning even after losing every gear but the sixth.
43- Senna took 13 pole-positions in the season he won his first title, in 1988. His McLaren teammate, Alain Prost, started in first place twice, and Ferrari’s Gerhard Berger secured just one pole.
44- In a bet with McLaren’s principal, Ron Dennis, during the 1990 Italian GP, Senna took home his winning McLaren and now it sits on display at the Ayrton Senna Institute, in São Paulo.
45- Senna drove 13 distinct cars over the course of his F1 career: Toleman TG183B, Toleman TG184, Lotus 97T, Lotus 98T, Lotus 99T, McLaren MP4/4, McLaren MP4/5, McLaren MP4/5B, McLaren MP4/6, McLaren MP4/6B, McLaren MP4/7A, McLaren MP4/8, Williams FW16.
46- Ayrton Senna had 10 teammates throughout his F1 career: Johnny Cecotto (Toleman), Stefan Johansson (Toleman), Elio de Angelis (Lotus), Johnny Dumfries (Lotus), Satoru Nakajima (Lotus), Alain Prost (McLaren), Gerhard Berger (McLaren), Michael Andretti (McLaren), Mika Hakkinen (McLaren) and Damon Hill (Williams).
47- Ayrton Senna drove cars with engines from four different suppliers in Formula One: Hart, Ford Cosworth, Honda and Renault – but he tested other models, including a Lamborghini-powered McLaren.
48- Phil Collins, Milton Nascimento, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson and Madonna were some of Senna’s favorite musicians.
49- Throughout his F1 career, Senna scored points in the first two races of every season but one, 1994. The driver had the pole position in the two GPs (Brazil and Japan), but was forced to retire.
50- The place where Senna had the most podium finishes was Monaco (8), where he also had the most wins (6).
51- Ayrton Senna tested an F1 car for the first time in 1983. it was a Williams, at Donington Park, in England
52- Ayrton Senna’s F1 debut took place at the 1984 Brazilian GP, at Jacarepaguá.
53- One of Ayrton Senna’s favorite hobbies was playing tennis. The driver also attended matches at Wimbledon and Roland Garros, during his career.
54- Senna always dreamed of racing for Ferrari, but it never became a reality. However, Luca di Montezemolo, president of the Italian scuderia at the time, revealed that there were negotiations to that effect in 1994. “he wated to come to Ferrari, and I wanted him on the team”, said the executive.
55- Senna won 91 times in his post-karting motor racing career. Taking into account his years in Formula Ford (1600 and 2000), British F3, and four other one-off races, Senna won 50 times out of F1.
56- Senna scored 614 points in total, in F1.
57- Senna’s best start of an F1 season took place in 1991, with four consecutive wins in the first four races.
58- Senna holds the record for most wins in a single circuit: 5 triumphs in Monaco, between 1989 and 1993.
59- Ayrton was 28 when he won his first title, in 1988, with McLaren. In 1991, Senna became the youngest F1 three-time champion (he was 31), a record that would be broken in 2012, by Sebastian Vettel (at 25).
60- Senna scored his first point in F1 in 1984, by finishing the South African GP in sixth place. It was just the second race of the year.