AYRTON SENNA is best remembered behind the wheel of the red and white cars of Marlboro McLaren Honda, with which he enjoyed three world championship wins, but a less heralded F1 car – currently for sale to a serious collector – was arguably just as important in the Senna story.
The Toleman Hart TG183B, designed by Rory Byrne and Pat Symonds, the F1 engineering legends, was the car that the Brazilian superstar drove on his debut in the top flight motor sport series at the Brazilian GP in Rio de Janeiro.
TG183B chassis number five raced at the first four rounds of the 1984 F1 season, including Kyalami where Senna finished a creditable sixth place scoring his first world championship point, and Zolder, where Senna finished seventh. The young star’s final race in TG183B 05 came at the San Marino GP, Imola.
The car was then retired and retained by the team until it was sold to the USA where it was restored in the early 1990s by Mike Earl’s North American organisation in Los Angeles.
The car was brought back to the UK in recent years and is up for sale by Cars International, a specialist in restoring and selling luxury vehicles. A spokesperson told Driving.co.uk that it has a guide price of £350,000.
The vehicle has been lovingly restored and comes complete with an original Hart Turbo engine and full documentation proving its F1 history. It was never the fastest car on track but the young Senna seemed to wring the best out of it.
Alex Hawkridge, the Toleman team manager credited for spotting Senna’s potential after being crowned Formula 3 champion, said in 1990: “We couldn’t hire a superstar [too expensive] or even a current experienced driver on a minimum retainer – our cars wouldn’t get a fair showing in the hands of an average Formula One driver. We had to go for young talent. We had to have someone good enough to progress the car, and we knew that Ayrton was capable of doing that.”
Those with an extensive Christmas budget should contact Cars International on 01488 71029.