Last weekend, a Brazilian was once again behind the wheel of the Williams FW08C, the first F1 racecar driven by Ayrton Senna. As part of the Autosport international – an event organized by British magazine Autorsport, one of the most respected publications in motor sports – Felipe Massa showed off the car to fans in Birmingham, England.
“It was a real honor to be able to drive the FW08C today, especially because it was the first car ever tested by Ayrton”, Massa told Sky Sports. “It’s a great car to drive, very easy to control, even if it tends to slide sideways. The roar of the engine is fantastic”, added the 2008 world championship runner-up.
The FW08C was used in the 1983 season, when Keke Rosberg and Jacques Laffite were Williams’ main drivers. As that year’s British F3 brightest star, Ayrton Senna was invited by Frank Williams, the team’s principal, to test the car at Donington Park.
Ayrton took a few laps and set the track’s new record for naturally aspirated cars: 1min00s5. It was an impressive mark for everyone present at the circuit, but Williams had already signed its current drivers for the following season.
Even though he spent most weekends competing in F3 – of which he became Champion at the end of 1983 – Ayrton made time to do tests with McLaren, Brabham and Toleman, the team with which he ended up signing for the upcoming F1 season.