Simon Pagenaud will wear a special Ayrton Senna tribute helmet for Indy 500

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Some of motor racing’s most iconic moments came when Ayrton Senna was driving a McLaren-Honda, a red-and-white car with his trademark, simple yellow helmet with green and blue stripes.

Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports’ Simon Pagenaud will pay tribute for the rest of the month, in a red-and-white Honda (Lucas Oil sponsorship) and a Senna tribute helmet, yellow with green and blue stripes, and red accents on the back.

“Ayrton Senna has been the inspiration for my entire life, whether I’m in a race car or not,” Pagenaud said. “He was my hero as a child, my role model as a teenager and my example as a human and a race car driver.”

Pagenaud contacted the Senna family several months ago with the help of 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran to discuss the idea of bringing the famous yellow helmet to “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Pagenaud made the announcement with three of Senna’s Brazilian countrymen, and all Indianapolis 500 winners: de Ferran, Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan.

“Ayrton’s yellow helmet is recognized all over the world for the aura it had around one of the most special race car drivers we have ever known,” Pagenaud said. “After meeting people who knew and worked with Senna and realizing how blessed I am to have made a life in racing for myself, as well, I wanted to carry Ayrton with me to another checkered flag.”

Additionally, he’ll auction the helmet off after the race to benefit the Ayrton Senna Institute, which promotes children’s literacy efforts.

“Senna inspired people throughout the entire world, and his legacy lives on through the Ayrton Senna Institute, which was established by his sister, Viviane,” Pagenaud said. “I’m truly honored that Viviane and her son Bruno Senna have allowed me to be part of this special opportunity to commemorate Ayrton’s memory at the Indianapolis 500. I’m so excited to have this opportunity to thank Ayrton for what he has taught me up to this day and what he will continue to teach me in the future.”

We think the helmet is awesome, and it gives us some chills.

Here’s some images shared from the moment on Twitter.

MRTI: Keith Donegan earns Mazda Shootout Scholarship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”

The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.

“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”

Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.

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