AN ICONIC banana-yellow racing suit is up for auction as worn by three-time Formula 1 World Champion Ayrton Senna.
It will be sold off, fittingly, in Monaco, the same place Senna won six Grands Prix to make him the most successful Formula 1 driver to race in the principality. It was this suit that Senna wore to his first Monaco GP victory, and the last win in Formula 1 for Team Lotus.
The significant item of clothing was worn by Senna throughout the rest of the 1987 Formula 1 season, which included a further seven podium appearances by the champion. It was to be his final term with Team Lotus before moving to McLaren, where he netted his three world championships.
The suit is signed on the front by Senna, and is said to have been gifted to the brother of Senna’s physiotherapist, who displayed it in his store as a lucky charm before selling it to a collector in Canada. The suit subsequently found its way to a Monaco gallery where it is located currently.
Senna is arguably the most lauded name in the world of motorsport. As a legend of Formula 1 history his name has found its way onto roads, motorbikes, racetracks and most recently a duo of super-fast McLarens – the Senna and Senna GTR.
Since his death at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, his legacy has brought numerous safety developments to Formula 1 such as power restrictions, safer track designs and improved crash barriers.
If previous auctions of Senna memorabilia are any indication, the suit should fetch an eye-watering price. In 2014, Senna’s racing suit from the 1991 F1 season sold for A$87,100. A Senna helmet went for A$114,000.
However, those sums aren’t the most outlandish to be thrown at this type of memorabilia. In 2011, a racing suit worn by Steve McQueen in the film ‘Le Mans’ sold at auction for just shy of a staggering A$1,000,000. (US$984,000)
The Camel-sponsored Senna suit will go under the hammer at RM Sotheby’s Monaco auction in May, and find its way into the hands of one very lucky (and presumably wealthy) fan.