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 posingAyrton 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 rowThe 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 trackIt 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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The new Type R set a Suzuka Circuit lap record.

Honda

The new Honda Civic somehow improves on the formula laid out by its numerous predecessors and does so with style, refinement, and value. The Civic Si built on that foundation with a potent turbocharged engine and solid handling, but Honda's not done with the Civic. The automaker just teased the new Civic Type R, and it set records at Japan's Suzuka Circuit during a recent testing session.

The All-New 2023 Type R Achieves Track Record at Suzukawww.youtube.com

The Type R lapped Suzuka Circuit in 2 minutes, 23.120 seconds, a record-breaking lap for a front-wheel drive car. The video features neat telemetry information on-screen during the lap as well, but the real excitement comes later when full specs are revealed.

Honda's been understandably mum on details on the new Type R's powertrain and performance numbers, but the car is expected to carry the same powertrain with its predecessor. The 300-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine made that car a force to be reckoned with, so the 2023 Civic Type R will likely continue carrying that torch.

Honda Civic Type RHonda will fully reveal the car this summer. Honda

Honda will reveal the car in all its glory this summer. As for pricing, the previous car started around $38,000, so the new model should be around there to start. That, of course, is before dealers mark it up and other lucky buyers snap them up for insane resale on an auction site.

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The Emira will be Lotus' last gas-powered car.

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Automakers of all sizes and shapes are going electric, and tiny British automaker Lotus is no exception. Known for building small, impossibly lightweight cars with amazing handling, Lotus is rolling out one last fossil fuel-burning sports car before its world changes completely.

Lotus EmiraThe Emira will be available with a four- or six-cylinder engine. Lotus

Lotus says the Emira will be its last gas-powered vehicle before its shift to an all-electric lineup. The Emira is available with both a V6 and a twin-turbocharged inline four-cylinder - a version of the world's most powerful four-banger. Orders for the V6 model have far exceeded expectations, and the automaker notes that traffic to its website has grown considerably due to the car's popularity.

Lotus borrowed the engine from AMG, but the power numbers are different than the specs announced in 2019. At that time, Mercedes-AMG noted that the engine could produce up to 416 horsepower, but Lotus is only squeezing 360 ponies out of the inline-four. That said, Lotus' ability to build featherweight performance cars means that 360 horsepower will be plenty to motivate the Emira with enthusiasm. An eight-speed dual-clutch transmission is standard and brings paddle shifters to a Lotus for the first time.

A load of options are available for the car, including seven interior color options, six exterior colors, four options packages, and multiple wheel designs. Though some sports and luxury automakers hold the best options back to charge more, Lotus offers a surprising number of standard features, including 12-way power seats with memory, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 10.25-inch touchscreen, and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster.

Lotus EmiraSeveral colors and options will be available. Lotus

Reservations for the First Edition model open on April 8 for customers in the UK with deliveries starting later in 2022. The Emira First Edition starts at $85,900, while the entry-level four-cylinder model starts at around $79,000. Lotus says more specs and pricing details will be made available this summer.

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