Milestones

New Lotus podcast celebrates 35th anniversary of Senna's first Formula 1 win

A new podcast features the story of Ayrton Senna's first F1 win.

Photo courtesy of Classic Team Lotus

Famed Formula 1 racer Ayrton Senna lived for life at high speed and died doing what he loved. The Brazilian race car driver was just 34 when he died leaving a legacy of wins to be remembered by. Today, Lotus marks the 35th anniversary of Senna's first Formula 1 win with a new podcast.

Senna was a member of the Lotus team form 1985 to 1987 and achieved his first pole position while behind the wheel of one of their cars in 1985. The Lotus years were some of the least fruitful of Senna's Formula 1 career but his two wins in each of the three seasons and two consecutive fourth place season finishes in '86 and '87 pushed his career in high gear.

Ayrton Senna Lotus car posing Ayrton Senna was a member of the Lotus racing team from 1985 to 1987.Photo courtesy of Classic Team Lotus

On April 21, 1985, Senna, all of 25 years old, was behind the wheel fo a Lotus 97T in monsoon conditions at the Portuguese Grand Prix. Lotus describes what happened next:

"Rain, as ever, is the great leveler for on-track performance. It requires sensitive driver inputs, instinctive car control and a sympathetic approach to the mechanical set-up. One weekend in Estoril revealed Senna could excel in all.

It was also the setting for Senna's first-ever F1 pole position, and he went on to claim another 15 for Lotus. His record of 65 F1 pole positions is eclipsed only by Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.

In the race, Senna got off the line well and led a Lotus 1-2 after the first lap. With a clear road ahead, he began to pull away from team-mate Elio de Angelis and the chasing pack. The race was one of bravery and attrition; conditions worsened and, in an era before safety cars, pit-to-car radio or yellow flags, cars were pulling off the track or hitting the barriers.

Senna remained calm and composed in his Lotus and, after two hours of brutal racing, crossed the line first. Just nine cars were classified as finishing.

He later commented: "It was a hard, tactical race, corner by corner, lap by lap, because conditions were changing all the time. The car was sliding everywhere – it was very hard to keep the car under control. Once I had all four wheels on the grass, totally out of control, but the car came back on the circuit. People later said that my win in the wet at Donington in '93 was my greatest performance – no way! I had traction control!"

He became a national hero in Brazil and won fans the world over. Despite his tragic death in 1994, he remains a racing legend.

Portuguese Grand Prix 1985 Ayrton Senna raining rain pit row The monsoon, combined with Senna's first F1 win, made the Portuguese Grand Prix particularly memorable.Photo courtesy of Classic Team Lotus

The new podcast – part of the recently launched US LOT Sessions – features an all-new and exclusive interview with Chris Dinnage, Senna's chief mechanic in 1985 and today the Team Manager at Classic Team Lotus.The podcast is joined by rarely seen classic archive images of Senna and his 97T race car from a private collection, and a new blog revealing insights into Senna the man and his time racing for Lotus as part of the celebration of life.

Describing the raw emotion of the weekend and the Lotus that catapulted Senna to stardom, Dinnage says: "Ayrton hadn't tested the car in the wet – that was the first time he'd driven in those conditions. Estoril was when he really hit the scene, because people sat up and thought 'hang on, he's lapped almost everybody' and we knew we had something pretty special."

Portuguese Grand Prix 1985 Ayrton Senna raining rain track It poured rain on the track during the Portuguese Grand Prix making racing conditions hazardous.Photo courtesy of Classic Team Lotus

Dinnage adds it was this which made the difference between Ayrton and other drivers, explaining: "Ayrton had the same raw pace as everyone else, but he was only using 50% of his capacity as a human to drive the car at full speed, leaving him the other 50% to be really aware of everything that was going on around him. His concentration levels were unparalleled – I've never met anyone else like him."

You can listen to podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and ShoutEngine.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Toyota Mall of Georgia, one of AutoNation's dealerships, has raised money to support the caregivers at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Photo courtesy of AutoNation

You know the pink license plate brackets and the pink-leather jacket clad spokeswoman. All that pink is paying off. AutoNation announced that it has raised $25 million for cancer research and treatment through its Drive Pink (DRV PNK) Initiative. Drive Pink launched in 2015.

In 2020 alone, DRV PNK funds have been invested in seven major research projects through the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), the largest private funder of breast cancer research in the world. BRCF focuses their efforts in six different areas: tumor biology, treatment, survivorship, metastasis, lifestyle and prevention, and heredity and ethnicity.

"AutoNation has played a valuable role in enabling BCRF to be at the vanguard of every major breakthrough in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship," said Mrya Biblowit, BCRF President and CEO.

"Every October, we celebrate all that we have accomplished through DRV PNK" said Mike Jackson, AutoNation's Chairman and CEO. "This year, we've taken our mission to new levels, thanks to the incredible support of our Customers, our Associates and our partners."

As part of its DRV PNK efforts, AutoNation works to raise awareness of breast cancer. The company sponsored NTT Indycar Series drivers Jack Harvey, Alexander Rossi, and Marco Andretti who were behind the wheel of vehicles wearing pink liveries.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and AutoNation will be stepping up its efforts throughout the month. Expect to see ad campaigns reflecting such. The company's annual DRV PNK Across America Day by selecting local cancer treatment facilities to receive care bags for patients battling cancer.

For longtime AutoNation Associate and breast cancer survivor, Lisa Logan, DRV PNK is personal. "Sadly, just about everyone has been touched by cancer. I am so proud to work for a company that not only supported me throughout my journey, but that also supports such an important cause."

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Cadillac will give the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing carbon fiber seats.

Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Cadillac continues to tease its long-awaited Blackwing sedans. The company is using the Blackwing monknier to designate their top-performing models of the CT4 and CT5.

Those models will also wear the "V' designation and be given the full name Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and CT4-V Blackwing. They will both be 2022 model year vehicles.

2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing testing This CT5-V Blackwing was spotted testing at Virginia International Raceway, Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Cadillac has slowly been leaking out details of the models, even as the market moves away from sedan sales. We know now know that Cadillac CT-5 Blackwing will feature racing inspired seats. According to the automaker, "The carbon fiber seat back will feature a precision book-matched design and laser-etched V-Series logo. The seats will also include other customer-centric innovations and features that will be announced at a later date."

Cadillac also confirmed that the model is a limited edition.

We already have seen a picture of the cars' interior. That photo showed a new performance steering wheel that is crafted with leather and cut-and-sewn stitching. It features a 12 o'clock red racing stripe, carbon fiber trim, and a V-Series emblem. That emblem is designed to envoke nostalgia for Cadillac's championship-winning heritage on the track. Cadillac has designed the wheel with driver ergonomics as a priority.

The new models will feature V-Mode and a Performance Traction Management system that can be accessed on the left- and right-hand side of the wheel, respectively.

Additional buttons on the steering wheel are more typical to the General Motors lineup. They feature heated steering wheel, follow distance, cruise control, phone call/Bluetooth, and volume controls.

Each V-Series Blackwing model will feature a specially tuned chassis, vehicle control technologies, and engines. The models will be offered with a manual transmission.

The CT5-V Blackwing will be available starting in summer 2021. Expect pricing to be around the $60,000 mark.

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