A unusual Ayrton Senna story was revealed in 2019. A poster released by Formula 1 Group itself with a photo of Ayrton Senna driving a Lotus number 11 sparked the curiosity of the fans, since his number with the British team was always 12 (1985, 1986 and 1987). But after all, when did the Brazilian test the car with another number?
The right answer is: Rio de Janeiro, at the extinct Jacarepaguá race track. In February 1986, the Brazilian driver participated in the tire tests, as the pre-season practices of the time were known, with the iconic black Lotus, but number 11. It would belong to the British Johnny Dumfries, who raced the entire season as the Brazilian’s companion at Lotus. At the time, it was common for the first tests of the year to be carried out with just one car per team.
In 2019, therefore, the image released by Formula 1 for the announcement of the Heineken Formula 1 Festival – Senna Tribute that showed car # 11 was real.
Images of this car captured by TV Bandeirantes can prove such rarity. They can be seen on the program “Acelere”, whick was aired 35 years ago by the channel. Senna already impressed everyone because of his strong performance in the previous year, in 1985, in which the Brazilian conquered two victories, seven pole positions and six podiums.
The scene had already taken place in 1985, in Donington Park, England, also in tests. Senna never really drove with this number in official Lotus races.