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


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.”

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

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III