Ayrton Senna’s final go-kart returns to the track after being restored

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Earlier this year, we reported that the final go-kart raced by three-time Formula 1 world champion Ayrton Senna had sold for $65,000 in an auction in England, fetching over double its predicted value.

Senna used the DAP model in a 1981 world karting championship race in Parma, Italy, before making the switch to single seaters for the following season.

After making his F1 debut in 1984, Senna would go on to win three world titles with McLaren and establish himself as one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport before his untimely death at the age of 34 in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

Seven months on from the auction, Senna’s kart is not only in the hands of a racing enthusiast, but it has also been restored to allow it to return to its home: the race track.

The kart was bought by American businessman Zak Brown, who is also the owner of United Autosports. The racing team has restored the kart to racing state and shook it down in Lydd, England, earlier this month.

United Autosports co-owner Richard Dean was on hand to shake down the kart, and was watched by Terry Fullerton, Senna’s biggest rival in karting and the driver whom the Brazilian claimed that he had the biggest satisfaction racing against. Fullerton is also coaching Brown’s son, Max, in karting.

“Zak acquired the ex-Senna DAP kart at a Bonhams Auction earlier this year,” Dean said. “The kart was built exclusively for Senna by the DAP factory in Italy but the chassis was originally designed for DAP by former world kart champion Terry Fullerton.

“We did some restoration work on the kart as it hadn’t been run for quite a time. The engine was stripped and all the brakes serviced etc. We kept the original working parts and only replaced things like seals and bearings.

“This really is a piece of history and it sits proudly in the reception of United Autosports’ workshop in Leeds. Zak insists all of the cars in his historic collection are in working order and can run on track at any time. All of our vehicles are in exact period condition and the Senna kart is no different.”

The enormity of the opportunity was not lost on Dean, who admitted that he felt emotional lapping in the very same kart that Senna had raced.

“To get to drive Senna’s very last kart was something extremely special,” Dean said. “Senna’s biggest rival and most feared competitor was Terry Fullerton and fittingly Terry was at Lydd when we ran the kart for the first time.

“Driving Ayrton’s kart was pretty emotional for me and I can’t wait to take it out again.”

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Richard Dean laps in the restored go-kart (© United Autosports)