This week, Williams announced that the first car driven by Ayrton Senna in a Formula One test, the Williams-Cosworth FW08C, will be on display during the Autosport international, an event taking place in Birmingham, England, starting this Thursday (January 14th). The car, which will be driven by Felipe Massa, takes to the track on Sunday (17th).
The Williams’ racecar was built for the 1983 season and ended up being used by Keke Rosberg and Jacques Laffite, the team’s main drivers at the time. On July 9th of that year, at Donington Park, Senna did his first Formula One test, driving the same car. The Brazilian astounded everyone by setting the course’s new record for cars with naturally-aspirated engines: 1min00s5.
Senna was easily leading the British F3 championship, back then. Even though he won the title at the end of the season, Frank Williams, the team’s principal, didn’t sign the Brazilian because he already had a deal with his drivers for the following year.
Still in 1983, Senna did testes with McLaren, Brabham and Toleman, the team with which he ended up making his F1 debut, at Jacarepaguá, at the start of 1984.
Besides the FW08C, three other Williams will take part in the event. The 1992 car will be driven by Nigel Mansell and the 1996 one by Damon Hill – each driver behind the wheel of the car with which they became world-champions. The FW06, from 1978, will be on display.