As a Formula One three-time champion, Ayrton Senna secured the three greatest achievements in his career at the Japanese GP. The Suzuka track became something of a sacred temple for the Brazilian driver`s fans, but the admiration the Japanese people had for the racing idol went beyond the circuit’s borders. Anywhere he went in the country, Senna was applauded and respected.
Take a look back at a few great stories about Senna in Japan:
1- Senna goes the wrong way in a go-kart
Ayrton appeared in a few comedy TV shows in Japan, and one of his funniest moments was when he drove the wrong way on a go-kart track. In the video, the Japanese presenters even dressed Senna as a samurai, and brought two costumed characters to compete with the driver: an Ayrton Senna look-alike and a driver posing as Prost, wearing the Williams blue racing suit.
2- Senna is mobbed by the Japanese
In 1992, Senna was surrounded by fans everywhere he went in Japan, and he appeared on a variety show. Before and after the taping, fans couldn’t contain their excitement and did everything they could to get closer to their idol.
3- The Japanes flag on his helmet
Since Honda was leaving McLaren at the end of 1992, Ayrton Senna decided use his helmet to pay tribute to the company in his last race Japan with a Honda engine. The Brazilian put a Japanese flag on the green stripe of his helmet.
4- Interview with Senna and Zico
In 1993, Ayrton Senna and football star Zico appeared together on a TV show in Japan. They talked a lot about the relationship between the Japanese and Brazilians in sports. The three-time champion mentioned how loving the local fans were and thanked them for the respect he was shown in the Asian country.
5- Senna drives a Honda NSX at Suzuka
In 1991, Senna put all his style and driving skills on display at the Suzuka raceway, when he stepped on the throttle of a Honda NSX. It was the maker’s newest model , which incorporated data and opinions given by Ayrton himself before it went into production. Wearing loafers and white socks, Senna gave a technical master class to the Japanese and the video went viral on the Internet years later.