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.
In this year’s #Indy500 driver @simonpagenaud will wear a helmet designed to look like Ayrton Senna’s. pic.twitter.com/aEgi4XixIw
— Indy Motor Speedway (@IMS) May 16, 2014
Senna helmet colors to be worn by @simonpagenaud in @IMS 500 unveiled w @h3lio @TonyKanaan @GdeFerran pic.twitter.com/A9y84xLub7
— J. Douglas Boles (@jdouglas4) May 16, 2014
. @tonykanaan remembers copying Senna’s focusing techniques before races when he was younger. #IndyCar #Indy500 pic.twitter.com/8GOeucV81j
— IndyCar Series (@IndyCar) May 16, 2014
Total lid envy as @h3lio, @TonyKanaan and @GdeFerran check out @simonpagenaud‘s Senna tribute Indy500 helmet pic.twitter.com/c8Kf7Tge1t
— Will Buxton (@willbuxton) May 16, 2014