Muralist Eduardo Kobra has created a mural to honor Ayrton Senna at the Interlagos Raceway, where the Brazilian driver made history with two memorable F1 wins, in 1991 and 1993. The São Paulo Tourism Bureau, responsible for the track’s management, offered one of the place’s as a 27-meter high by 10-meter wide canvas for the artist. The virtual unveiling took place this Tuesday (May 12), during a livestream on the official Ayrton Senna Facebook and YouTube pages.
The painting “Ayrton Senna – Overcoming” was concluded in March. But, due to the pandemic, the launch was postponed to May 12, the date of the 80th anniversary of Interlagos – which is officially named José Carlos Pace, after another great Brazilian driver.
Senna is one of Kobra’s greatest sources of inspiration. He’s the “character” who appears the most in the work of the Brazilian urban artist: 11 murals overall (besides a small, medium and large-sized painting), the most recent of them at the Ímola Raceway, in Italy. “I actually thought about calling the whole thing off, due to terrible worldwide pandemic, but then I realized that Senna, as a model of resilience, is an even more important symbol in a period as difficult as this one. That was why I chose to portray, in the mural, the iconic moment on March 24, 1991, when, after driving the final stretch of the race with just the sixth gear, he climbed on the podium and, despite being totally exhausted, found the strength to lift up the trophy in his right hand”, he said.
According to Kobra, “Senna turned the act of driving a racecar into more than a sport, a true artform, enchanting everyone”. He added, “In all my murals around the world, I paint the Brazilian flag, which is a direct influence of the pride Ayrton Senna felt when waving the flag after his races, and especially of his desire to share his accomplishments with all Brazilians”.
According to the city’s Tourism Secretary, Miguel Calderaro, Giacomini, the mural is a gift in more than one way. “We’re honored by the partnership. To have a reminder of such an important moment to one of the greatest athletes ever, Ayrton Senna, at the Interlagos Raceway, as conceived by Eduardo Kobra, a São Paulo-born muralist who is celebrated all over the world for his talent and original style, makes the city even more colorful and vibrant. From now on, everyone who attends an event at the venue will have the occasion marked by the presence of a Brazilian idol”, he said.
“It’s always an honor and a joy to receive another homage made by Kobra to Ayrton, perpetuating his legacy through an artform that reaches thousands of people. Without a doubt, this one will be special, since it’s at Interlagos, where Ayrton made unforgettable memories, from the beginning of his career at the go-kart track that now bears his name to his epic F1 wins”, says Bianca Senna, the driver’s niece and CEO of Senna Brands.
The “Ayrton Senna – Overcoming” mural at the Interlagos Raceway is an initiative by Eduardo Kobra, in a partnership with Senna Brands and the City of São Paulo through its Tourism Bureau.
“Legend of Brazil” Mural
Kobra has unveiled, on November 10, 2015, near Paulista Avenue, in São Paulo, a huge Ayrton Senna Mural. For about a month, the artist worked daily from 8 AM t 7 PM, at the site, with his team of artists, so the painting would be completed before the Formula One Grand Prix at Interlagos.
The mural “Legend of Brazil” is 41 meters high and 17.5 meters wide, covering a whole side of a building located at 2608 Consolação Street (on the corner of Paulista Avenue, in front of the José Molina Square). It shows, in bright colors, the driver’s helmet and his expressive gaze. The artwork consumed two thousand liters of paint and 500 spray paint cans. Senna is one of Eduardo Kobra’s main role models. “For years, I have dreamed of painting a mural at Interlagos with this example of talent, determination and resilience as my subject”, says Kobra, who has already painted several murals depicting the F1 three-time world champion (born on March 21, 1960, in São Paulo).
Mural at Imola
The 21-meter long by 7-meter high mural was unveiled at Ímola in September of 2019. The Italian track was the setting of the Brazilian driver’s fatal accident on May 1, 1994, but it’s also a place where Ayrton set records and won races. He still holds the F1 record for most poles in San Marino (8 in total), besides having won three times at the place (1988, 1989 and 1991). The painting stands above the entrance of the Checco Costa museum, inside the raceway.
In the mural, Kobra also references Austrian driver Roland Ratzenberger, who passed away on the same weekend, during the qualifying sessions for the race. On Senna’s helmet, Kobra painted an Austrian flag, which Senna planned to wave after the end of the race.
Despite being out of the F1 calendar, the Ímola circuit still hosts several races of other categories, besides attracting a host of fans – especially Japanese and Brazilian ones – who want to pay their respects to their idol.