A three-time Formula One world champion, Ayrton Senna had great moments at British circuits, especially in motor sports’ entry categories. Many fans remember the driver’s success at Silverstone, where he won ten races throughout his career. Those triumphs led the local press to dub the circuit “Silvastone” in 1983, a play on Ayrton Senna da Silva’s last name.
Senna, however, also stood out at Brands Hatch, a circuit located approximately 120 km away from Silverstone. The Brands Hatch track has hosted the second highest number of F1 races in the UK: 14 in total. Senna took part in only three of them, since the last F1 GP at the circuit took place in 1986.
It was there, in 1984 – the year of his F1 debut, with team Toleman – that Senna was the fastest in an F1 free practice session for the first time. The session took place on July 20, a little over a month his impeccable race on the streets of Monaco.
Ayrton couldn’t really celebrate, though, since his teammate, Johnny Ceccotto, suffered a serious accident in the same session. Two days later, Senna would be climbing on the podium for the second time in F1, with a third-place finish in the race.
In the following year, 1985, Ayrton commanded attention once again, at Brands Hatch, by taking the pole position in the European GP behind the wheel of his black Lotus. Ayrton led for the first eight laps, and finished the race in second, behind Nigel Mansell.
Brands Hatch was already a special place for Senna even before he made it to F1, though, since it was where he made his motor sports debut after a successful career in karting. The track was also the setting of his first win in England, in 1981.
Taking into account all the categories Senna raced in, the driver won 6 times, made 10 podiums and secured 4 poles in 13 races at the Brands Hatch raceway.
Check out Senna’s full racing history at Brands Hatch:
01/03/1981, 5th place in his Formula Ford 1600 debut
15/03/1981 – 1st win in British motor sports – FF1600
12/07/1981 – 4th place in FF1600
02/08/1981 – win in FF1600
27/09/1981 – 2nd place in FF1600
07/03/1982 – pole and win in FF2000
31/05/1982 – win in FF2000
13/06/1982 – pole and win in FF2000
26/09/1982 – 2nd place in FF2000
8/5/1983 – pole and win in F3
22/7/1984 – 3rd place in F1
6/10/1985 – pole and 2nd place in F1
13/7/1986 – DNF – F1