From kart experiences to Formula 1 single-seaters, the “Ayrton Senna Forever” exhibition – scheduled at MAUTO – Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile from Wednesday 24 April to Sunday 13 October 2024 – collects the most significant cars driven by Senna throughout his career, from the first Formula Ford to the last Williams.

The cars will be accompanied by documents, publications and memorabilia: among these, the most complete collection of the driver’s racing suits and helmets and a wide selection of all the publications published worldwide on Ayrton Senna.

The red thread of the driver’s sporting career is enriched with intimate and personal elements, returned to the public through the extensive documentation gathered in the spaces of the automobile museum. Among Super 8 films and audio visual installations, the hundreds of photographs taken by the greatest photographers of the time stand out, helping to build an all-round Portrait of Ayrton Senna: from friend and photographer Angelo Orsi to Keith Sutton, from Ercole Colombo to Bernard Asset, from Steven Tee to Rainer Schlegelmilch.

“And 30 years have already passed. But the myth of Ayrton Senna is increasingly alive. We bring it back to us with a monographic reinterpretation of broad vision curated by Carlo Cavicchi: the exhibition, the text, the talks. ‘Ayrton Senna Forever’ is an exciting and rigorous narrative program, which projects onto MAUTO the history and events of Ayrton Senna, a great Brazilian, an extraordinary and unattainable figure, an exceptional driver and a media and popular phenomenon, who became timeless especially after his tragic death, which transfigured him into the epic icon of himself, projecting him into the firmament of the great stars of our time”, says Benedetto Camerana, President of Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile.

Bianca Senna, CEO of Senna Brands and niece of the pilot shows joy with the exhibition, which reinforces ties between Brazil and Italy: “we hope that this unprecedented exhibition packed with personal objects, equipment and cars will preserve the story and pass on the legacy of Ayrton, who, to this day, has been an inspiration to both the enthusiasts who saw him racing and the new generations. Bringing an exhibition of this scale to fans in Italy and around the world is such a joy for our family, which has roots in Italy.”

Set-up and materials on display

An extraordinary installation – designed by the architect Francesco Librizzi – spreads over an area of 1500 meters, also extending to the Piazza of the Museum where a striking installation stands out: the glazed skin becomes the flag of Brazil that flew in the hands of Senna after each victory.

The visual theme that inspired the setting up of the space dedicated to the exhibition is instead that of the starting grid. The cars are deployed like an army of terracotta: we can imagine – around them – the mechanics, the umbrella girls, the VIP guests, and the advertisement. The lighting is striking, black and white light beams predominate to accentuate the feeling of participating in a race, with reflections on the cars designed to make them appear almost as moving as during a race.

On display, all the cars driven by Senna: two karts of his racing beginnings (1978-1982); nine single-seaters, from the first 1982 Van Diemen RF82-Ford to the last 1994 Williams FW16-Renault; the amazing Mercedes 190 number 11 with which Senna won the Race of Champions in 1984 ahead of Lauda; two showcars, perfect reproductions of the original McLaren MP4/4-Honda and McLaren MP4/6-Honda positioned outside the entrance of the exhibition.

All the overalls, helmets, under helmets, hats and gloves he wore in karting, F3 and F1 races; accessories and mechanical parts of his cars, such as tyres, flaps, engines, the 1991 McLaren MP4/6 Nardi steering wheel and the 1994 Williams Renault column; the motorbike dedicated to him by Ducati and the “Senna” bicycle by Carraro.

Among the many personal items and other curiosities are the contract between Ayrton Senna and the DAP team in 1978, personal letters and greetings, the autographed Magnum Moët & Chandon bottles, watches, cups, medals, the computer for telemetry and the Williams FW16 monitor.

The exhibition continues with 114 photographs, selected by Carlo Cavicchi and Director Lorenza Bravetta, from over 12 thousand taken by the greatest photographers of the time: Angelo Orsi, Bernard Asset, Ercole Colombo, Martyn Elford, Rainer Schlegelmilch, Steven Tee, Keith & Mark Sutton, to which are added those from the archives of Autosprint, Motorsport Images and LAT Images.

And then all the books about Senna published around the world, in all languages, and still 20 corners placed in scattered order within the spaces that represent and tell lesser-known and important episodes of Senna’s life, never included in his biographies and therefore more curious, to also provide the visitor with a point of view on the man and not only on the sports champion.

Finally, to accompany the exhibition, an important visual display with 6 large panels that are articulated along the entire path in which spectacular images are projected, many of which are unpublished, films in Super8, audio visual installations and a multi-projection on a large screen.

“An exhibition that marks the beginning of a new course, in which the Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile – that celebrated 90 years of activity last year, exceeding 300,000 visitors – intends to consolidate its role at the international level as guardian of a historical memory of the automotive culture and a cutting-edge institution on the themes of research and contemporaneity. The exhibition we are presenting today, the result of a long and careful design and production activity, combines these two intentions: it pays tribute to a mythical figure of motorsport, Ayrton Senna, and does so by drawing on an impressive amount of content and materials and making use of an exhibition register of other languages, first of all that of contemporary art. The challenge we wanted to put in the field was this: to speak of a pop icon by giving him back, through curatorship and set-up, an aura of magic and immortality. Forever”, says Lorenza Bravetta, Director of Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile.

30 anos