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Senna - Porsche 956K - Nurburgring


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#1 MrAerodynamicist

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Posted 13 November 2002 - 23:20

Looking though a bunch of clippings/photos I tore out of magazines years ago I found a photo of Senna in a Porsche 956k, at the Nurburing (taken from a advert of diecast models iirc).

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A quick google suggests it was the 1984 Nurburgring 1000km's where he came 8th. What was the rest of the story? He was he sharing with? Other than finishing 8th, how well did the race go? Anyone got the complete grid & results?

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#2 Mila

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Posted 13 November 2002 - 23:40

looks like the names of Pescarolo and Johansson painted on the Porsche's door.

#3 MrAerodynamicist

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Posted 14 November 2002 - 00:02

Don't be so logical :)

#4 howl

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Posted 14 November 2002 - 04:12

MrA, I shall not couterpoint you on the subject of logicality, only tell you about what I have learned from my don't-you-be-logical-with-me-pal part of the universe. :lol:

In Time & Two Seats Janos L. Wimpffen confirms your result for Senna/Pescarolo/Johansson . This address http://www.wspr-raci...scc/ms1984.html should back it up. Wimpffen goes on to say the following in his recap of the race:

"The Le Mans winning Jöst 956B had Henri Pescarolo with Stefan Johansson. They were joined by a fellow who was making a considerable impression in the F1 world, Ayrton Senna da Silva. He demonstrated the smoothness that would become legendary. Never having raced a two-seater, and of course, being new to the circuit, he put the car within the top ten immediately. Such were the demands of the Grand Prix circus that the great Brazilian never again returned to the World Endurance Championship."

and a little later:

"The rain eased and the well-drained circuit dried quickly. It was too late for the Jöst car, which had lost eight laps with a broken clutch. However, Senna helped Pescarolo and Johansson bring it back into the top ten."

Unfortunately it says nothing about Senna's fuel consumption, a very inportant issue in the group C-era. When the partnership of Derek Bell/Stefan Bellof had ended after the 1984-season, I think Bell hinted that Bellof stole the glory by going fast and way over the allocated fuel, so Bell had to slow down to bring the car back on fuel-milage.

Wimpffen has it wrong on 1½ account though. On May 12 1984 (The opening of the new Nürburgring) Senna, among 19 others, had his first taste of the new layout and a 4 seater saloon car! Senna took part in a celebrity race, racing identical Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16, consisting of winners at the track over the last 25 years. According to Rallye Racing June 1984 Senna won the event ahead of Niki Lauda. Carlos Reutemann, Keke Rosberg, John Watson, Dennis Hulme and Jody Scheckter. From a picture of the race James Hunt, Jacques Laffite, Brabham (Jack I believe), Hill (this most be Phil) and Manfred Schurti also participated.

I seem to remember that Hulme had a special reason to remember the presence of Senna in this race - since he bumped Hulme out of first position! Anyone that can confirm?

I guess Senna's presence in these two race was a preparation for the up-coming European Grand Prix held at the Nürburgring later in the year - a race he ended, among 4 others, at the very first corner!

PS! Having just seen the Simpsons I must say "Mmh Porsche 956" ;)

Jesper O.H.

#5 quintin cloud

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Posted 14 November 2002 - 05:48

Good Photo Mr A, I never knew that Senna raced in the Sports car Series. :up: :up:

#6 Slyder

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Posted 14 November 2002 - 06:06

I didn't know that either.

great photo Mr. A

#7 dmj

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Posted 14 November 2002 - 08:59

Originally posted by howl
Wimpffen has it wrong on 1½ account though. On May 12 1984 (The opening of the new Nürburgring) Senna, among 19 others, had his first taste of the new layout and a 4 seater saloon car! Senna took part in a celebrity race, racing identical Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16, consisting of winners at the track over the last 25 years. According to Rallye Racing June 1984 Senna won the event ahead of Niki Lauda. Carlos Reutemann, Keke Rosberg, John Watson, Dennis Hulme and Jody Scheckter. From a picture of the race James Hunt, Jacques Laffite, Brabham (Jack I believe), Hill (this most be Phil) and Manfred Schurti also participated.
I seem to remember that Hulme had a special reason to remember the presence of Senna in this race - since he bumped Hulme out of first position! Anyone that can confirm?
Jesper O.H.

Complete story about this race was published in Mercedes-Benz magazine a few years ago. I have it somewhere... I am pretty sure that Senna did bumped out someone out of first position but can't remember was it Hulme or someone else...

#8 mikedeering

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Posted 14 November 2002 - 09:10

Didn't Senna also clash with Prost in that race?

I understood they qualified 1st and 2nd (Prost for once beating the polemeister!).

Prost gave Senna a lift to the circuit - the first time they really met. Prost said they semmed to get on...but then the Brazilian punted Prost out on the opening lap!!!

I think that's the story...all the other drivers saw the event as a joke, except Senna who saw an opportunity to show his speed...

#9 2F-001

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Posted 14 November 2002 - 09:18

I remember reading an interview with Prost, in which Alain described that race as marking his first realisation of Senna's utter and relentless determination to 'destroy him'. Weighty thoughts for a man to live with...

#10 dmj

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Posted 14 November 2002 - 09:28

Well, don't be too hard on Senna for that. He was a new boy in F1 and had to clinch every opportunity to gain more reputation. Of course that other drivers considered it a joke but he couldn't. Try to imagine, let's say Webber or Sato in such a race today - they would push as hard as they could - because they have yet to prove something... Just like Senna did in 1984.

#11 MrAerodynamicist

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Posted 14 November 2002 - 13:08

so it was on the new Nürburgring not the old one?

#12 mikedeering

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Posted 14 November 2002 - 13:35

The Mercedes race was at new Nurburgring - to celebrate its official opening.

The 1000kms sportcar event was also at the new race - the 1983 Nurburgring 1000kms being the last international event to be held at the old ring, where Stefan Bellof set the lap record that will last forever it seems...

#13 CLX

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Posted 14 November 2002 - 14:29

Originally posted by howl
I seem to remember that Hulme had a special reason to remember the presence of Senna in this race - since he bumped Hulme out of first position! Anyone that can confirm?


I'm almost sure it was Prost who he bumped out. I saw an article about it somewhere in the web. Prost said that that was the first ocasion in which he noticed Senna's greatest motivation was to destroy him.

#14 holiday

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Posted 15 November 2002 - 11:04

Howl:

Unfortunately it says nothing about Senna's fuel consumption, a very inportant issue in the group C-era. When the partnership of Derek Bell/Stefan Bellof had ended after the 1984-season, I think Bell hinted that Bellof stole the glory by going fast and way over the allocated fuel, so Bell had to slow down to bring the car back on fuel-milage.



I never heard Bell speaking about Bellof badly. In fact, they both got along with each other very well. Bell always accepted the superiority of Bellof, he wouldn't have been half the man without Bellof being his partner. I have found this paraphrasation : Derek Bell once said, Old people have crutches for walking, I have Stefan to win still races. (Derek Bell sagte später einmal sinngemäß: Alte Menschen haben Krücken um Laufen zu können, ich habe Stefan um immer noch Rennen gewinnen zu können.)



GERHARD BERGER on STEFAN BELLOF and his Porsche abilities in his autobiography "Grenzbereich" (=Limit) :

Gerhard Berger (Auszüge aus seiner Autobiographie «Grenzbereich») : «Heute würde ich sagen, dass Stefan Bellof damals auf einem vergleichbaren Level mit Senna war. Gegen ihn hatte keiner eine Chance. Mit Stefan bin ich in Hockenheim einmal ein Gruppe-C-Rennen mit dem Brun-Porsche gefahren. Ich bin sicher, dass niemand einen Gruppe-C-Porsche so fahren konnte wie er, das war SEIN Auto, da gibt's für mich keinen Zweifel. Ich war irrsinnig überzeugt von seinem Fahrkönnen, dem ist alles so leicht von der Hand gegangen. Ich habe zwar kleine Parallelen gesehen zu mir, aber Bellof war damals viel weiter als ich, ein Gigant. Ich habe ihn nur kurz gekannt, aber Stefan Bellof war einer, der mir richtig imponiert hat.»


"Today I would say that Stefan Bellof was back then on a comparable level with Senna. Nobody stood a chance against him. With Stefan I drove once at Hockenheim with a Porsche Brun a GroupC-race. I am sure that nobody could drive a GroupC-Porsche like he did, that was HIS car, there is no doubt about it.

I was extremely convinced of his driving abilities, for him everything was easy. though I have seen smaller parallels with me, Bellof was much more advanced than me, a Giant. I have known him only a short while, but Stefan Bellof was one who impressed me deeply."




At Nuerburgring 1983 - the track Bellof holds the absolute time record till today- both Bellof and Senna were underway in a Porsche 956. Bellof/Bell won the race, whereas Senna with a fast team-mate finished eighth. On that day, Bellof racing in his own 'living room destroyed Senna comprehensively.

#15 holiday

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Posted 15 November 2002 - 11:05

CLX,


MOTOR SPORT, 01.10.1998

From the very beginning of Ayrton Senna's Formula One career, back in 1984, his sights were set squarely on Prost. In a way it was inevitable, for Ayrton was a man of extraordinary intensity, one who needed to prove himself the best in all things, and at that time Alain was very much the king of the hill. It was their very first meeting that was to set the tone of their relationships down the years.

"I remember it very well. In the spring of 1984, the new Nürburgring was opened, and there was a celebrity race for Grand Prix drivers of the past and present, in Mercedes road cars. I was coming from Geneva to Frankfurt on a scheduled flight, and Ayrton was due to land half an hour before, so Gerd Kremer of Mercedes asked me if I would bring him to the track. On the way we chatted, and he was very pleasant. Then we got to the track, and practised the cars. I was on pole, with Ayrton second - after that he didn't talk to me any more! It seemed funny at the time. Then in the race, I took the lead - and he pushed me off the track after half a lap. So that was a good start..."



#16 dmj

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Posted 15 November 2002 - 11:14

Originally posted by holiday
At Nuerburgring 1983 - the track Bellof holds the absolute time record till today- both Bellof and Senna were underway in a Porsche 956. Bellof/Bell won the race, whereas Senna with a fast team-mate finished eighth. On that day, Bellof racing in his own 'living room destroyed Senna comprehensively.

Not exactly... Senna's 956 drive was a year later, in 1984, and it was new circuit. Of course, Bellof/Bell won it but Senna's eight place in his first ever endurance race, and probably first in a closed car was remarkable result, nothing less than it.
We'll never know how many good races and duels between these two remarkable drivers we missed because of Bellof's death... :cry:

#17 holiday

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Posted 15 November 2002 - 11:43

I am not sure how much credit you want to give Senna for finishing on 7th out of 10 on the car to beat that day, the Porsche 956?

Even more so, as running with even two strong team-mates like Henri Pescarolo who won Le Mans just before and finished at Brands Hatch second after Nuerburgring and with Johannsson who was a respectabel Number Two at F1, he just could have hung on as well.

BTW It was 1984 of course when both already were racing in f1.

#18 mikedeering

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Posted 15 November 2002 - 11:55

As already stated, the Senna Porsche lost several laps in the pits with a clutch problem - I think 7 or 8.

They finally finished 10 laps down after 6 hours of racing - so in reality lost 2-3 laps on the winning Porsche - in a 207 lap race - that is less than 1.5%. The Joest car happened to be 3 seconds slower in qualifying than the Bellof machine, which is 4% off the pace.

So its not just a case of saying "wow - the car finished 7th. Big deal" It had problems - and viewed on actual pace exlcuding this problem, it wasn't a huge amount slower than the works Bell/Bellof in the race. Of course, this assumes the winning car had a trouble free run - I don't know whether it did or not.

#19 Henri Greuter

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Posted 15 November 2002 - 12:14

Not downsizing Bellof's 956 performances, let alone praising Senna's:

Bellof had a factory Porsche at his disposal and these were generally somewhat better than the privateer cars during the shorter events i.e. non-Le Mans.

Anyway, Bellof's untimely demise was a great loss for racing for sure.


Henri Greuter

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#20 holiday

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Posted 16 November 2002 - 11:43

Originally posted by mikedeering
So its not just a case of saying "wow - the car finished 7th. Big deal" It had problems - and viewed on actual pace exlcuding this problem, it wasn't a huge amount slower than the works Bell/Bellof in the race. Of course, this assumes the winning car had a trouble free run - I don't know whether it did or not.


Yes. I would say we are lacking crucial information about the course of the race so far. How many cars else did have problems (I mean . it's an endurance race) and was Bellof/Bell maybe trying to controll the race at the front rather than crushing the opposition which would give important background information about the time gaps?

In any case we are still talking about the performance of car number 7, that is we are viewing all three drivers indistinctively, and people say: wow, they made up that and that time gap, but we don't know the exact performance of any single one. Senna could very well be a free-rider hanging on the other two experienced sports car drivers. A deductive logic along the lines ' Senna was an ace in open wheel contests, so he surely had to be one in sports car, too' doesn't help. I looked through the thread briefly, but I didn't find anywhere a split-up of the single performances of the drivers. Which leads me to the next point:


Henri Greuter,

I totally agree that the works Porsche always were somewhat stronger. In 1985 Bellof drove a Porsche Brun on the 1000km race at Hockenheimring and leading with a time gap of obver a minute at the 99 of 147 laps when under mighty suspicious cicumstances his Brun dropped oput of the race (in the tank they later found water). That's what I would call an impressive performance on inferior material.

I don't want to downgrade Senna who made in F3 and F1 a reputation of his own, but in sports car Bellof was a league of his own and practically unbeatable in the Porsches.

#21 Flatin5th

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Posted 16 November 2002 - 20:21

ayrton drove the 956B in the wet second qualifying session and made 7th fastest time. reinhold joest commented after the race that senna spent three hours telling him 30-35 things he thought should be changed on the car!

#22 holiday

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Posted 16 November 2002 - 21:01

Here, we have had some interns of the same kind, too. :lol: :p :lol:

Just kidding.;) We have a case of incomplete information here, and I am asking for some data I personally don't possess and without them it is simply ridiculous to evaluate Senna's performances. So far we have only evaluated the perfomance of car number 7 in general, but we are talking about Senna's in particular, aren't we?

#23 howl

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Posted 19 November 2002 - 00:52

This is excerpts from Rallye Racing August 1984 (results from T&TS by Wimpffen).

Senna did drive the fastest lap of #7. 1:33.49 compared to fastest over all, Jonathan Palmer in 1:32.75. The clutch related problem cost the team 15 minutes in the pits during a rain shower – this most be something around 8-9 laps, or the difference between eight and a possible podium finish .The third placed Lancia completed 206 laps, the forth placed Lloyd-Porsche 205 laps and the #7 Joest-Porsche 197 laps. Besides the clutch problem, Pescarolo had to pit on lap 12 for a flat tire.

Of the others, the winning #1 factory-Porsche of Bell/Bellof suffered from understeer through ¾ of the race. The 2nd placed #33 Fitzpatrick-Porsche was very competitive, after switching from Yokohama to Goodyear tires before the race. But a temporarily refuelling problem during the latter part of the race meant that the car had to pit prematurely for both more fuel and for David Hobbs (Boutsen having driven the maximum 4 hours/does it indicate that Hobbs was the slower of the two?).
A last lap collision with a Porsche 935 did not help, but didn’t change anything regarding their second place position in the race. The third placed factory-Lancia generally seemed to be slightly off pace except for the wet part, where a few electrical gremlins showed (which relegated the second Lancia to an eventual twelfth). The #14 Lloyd-Porsche of Palmer/Lammers/Danner was one of the most competitive cars on track, but was delayed for a minute during a failed brake pad change. A short, slow stint by another rookie Christian Danner not very helpful either (he was 7 seconds of the pace!). No info about the 5th placed Kremer-Porsche #10 of Manfred Winkelhock/Marc Surer, while the only mentioning of the sixth placed Brun-Porsche #19 of Oscar Larrauri/Massimo Sigala, was that the car needed a new nose piece during the early stages of the race with Oscar driving (not the first or last time this occurred I think). The seventh placed #1 factory-Porsche of Mass/Ickx suffered from brake problems and seemed to be slightly off the pace of the 3-4 quickest cars.

Another car to feature strongly until lap 80 was THE FASTEST PANTS IN THE WORLD – the Schiesser-sponsored Brun-Porsche in the hands of Hans-Joachim Stuck and Harald Grohs (what kind of name is that for a manufacturer of men’s underwear?). During the early laps of the rain, Stuck (on slicks) did not notice an Alba C2 car a duly collided.

The rain started at about 1 PM and lasted the best part of 2 hours. Eventually shortening the race from the scheduled 1000 km to 940 when the maximum 6 hour-distance was reached. This of course meant that fuel economy was not the usual feature, allowing drivers to just drive.

All in all, it seems that Senna made a pretty good showing of his talents behind a wheel.

This should give you something more to play with – now have a go!

Regarding the alleged criticism by Bell of Bellof I haven’t been able to find the source – YET. I believe what Bell meant in general was that there just was no chemistry between he and Bellof, said at a time when he was winning two drivers titles with a very easy going Hans-Joachim Stuck. I believe Bell perfectly knew what the deal was between him and Bellof. After all Bell started doing what Bellof did, only a decade or more earlier. I guess that even for the best it can be a bit frustrating to hold back, when you know you could in fact go faster.

Jesper O.H.

#24 SeanValen

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Posted 19 November 2002 - 01:34

Senna at the Nurburgring, very cool. :cool:
:up:

#25 Rediscoveryx

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Posted 19 November 2002 - 10:03

Thanks for the contribution Howl :up:

With endurance racing and driver pairings, results tell just a very small piece of the story, so these types of information is very welcome.

All in all, I think that it's hard to come to any conclusions about Senna's ability in sportscars from just one race, regardless of whether he finished first or tenth.

#26 vanRossem

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Posted 29 November 2002 - 14:40

Senna and Bellof tested an McLaren togehther at Silverstone.Bellofs time was 1:14,6 min. Senna drove with the better Ford DFY 1:14,3 min.Brundle who was also in Silverstone drove 1:14,7 min.

After this testing session Ron Dennis offers Bellof an contract,but Bellof's management signed the contract with Ferrari.
But 1. Septemeber 1985 finished all dreams.

#27 howl

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Posted 01 December 2002 - 02:50

During the 1000k's at the Nürburgring, Senna-team mate Stefan Johansson told about how tough the week ahead would be. During the race he had to prove himself against Senna, while the following week another daunting task awaited, as he had to prove himself against Stefan Bellof in the Tyrrell team at Brands Hatch for the British GP!

Stefan Johansson managed to out-qualify Bellof by 0.116 seconds, but retired in a first lap collision with Bellof eventually finishing 11th on the road.

Jesper O.H.

#28 vanRossem

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Posted 01 December 2002 - 09:57

@SeanValey:

Senna at the Nurburgring, very cool.



But not at the "Nordschleife",it was the "Eifelring".Senna never drove at the original Ring.

#29 ghinzani

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 18:47

Originally posted by vanRossem
Senna and Bellof tested an McLaren togehther at Silverstone.Bellofs time was 1:14,6 min. Senna drove with the better Ford DFY 1:14,3 min.Brundle who was also in Silverstone drove 1:14,7 min.

After this testing session Ron Dennis offers Bellof an contract,but Bellof's management signed the contract with Ferrari.
But 1. Septemeber 1985 finished all dreams.


This test was in 1983 correct? was Bellof offered a Ferrari drive that long before? Why did he then go to Tyrrell? was that a holding drive until a vacancy came up at the Scuderia?

#30 da Silva

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 21:06

Ask Magic about this. I believe he had read that Senna didn´t like the car, it was too heavy for him, he didn´t like the formula, too unsensitive.
He had never driven it before but was still faster than Stefan Johansson and Pescaloro.
And later as already mentioned, Senna had made an list of >30 points to improve the car.

#31 Simioni

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Posted 23 January 2003 - 03:01

The celebrity race at the Nurburgring was promoted by mercedes to present the 190Es in May 1984. That was the race that Senna won. BTW I haven't seen anything from that race that confirms Prost's innuendo of Senna pushing him off. Considering some of the less than factual things that Prost suggests in that Roebuck interview, it should be taken with a graint of salt.

The Porsche 956 race was later that same year, when Senna was invited by Reinhold Joest to join Pescarolo and Johansson for the 1000km race. Christopher Hilton's first book on Senna has a passage covering that race, here's part of it:

Johansson and Pescarolo did the morning practice. Senna went out in the afternoon - inevitably it was wet - and he only did one lap. Brought the Porsche smoothly back to the pits and asked, seriously, what were all those markers and switches for. (True. And he had done one lap without knowing). They told him, and, as Pescarolo says, "he was immediatly competitive, you know. After a few laps he was doing a good time. I wasn't really surprised, because I had been told about how promising he was, but he tackled a big car, with a big engine and it all seemed very easy."

Senna was 7th quickest in the wet, and the car eventually qualified 8th. In the race Pescarolo got a puncture in the early laps, and then lost 8 laps to fix a clutch problem. Near the end they also had to contend with water affectign electronic components, which meant they could only finish in 8th.

#32 crashgate

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 09:21

Shame the photo of that Porsche is missing, I would love to see it

can it be fixed?

#33 rhegra

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 09:36

..take a look at http://www.seibold-a...hte/rennen.html

#34 crashgate

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 09:42

I am sorry but there is no picture of Senna driving Porsche 956 on that site

#35 Duc-Man

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 09:46

Here are some pictures I found elsewhere:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

The other drivers on that car were Henri Pescarolo and Stefan Johansson

#36 D-Type

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 10:33

The celebrity race at the Nurburgring was promoted by mercedes to present the 190Es in May 1984. That was the race that Senna won. BTW I haven't seen anything from that race that confirms Prost's innuendo of Senna pushing him off. Considering some of the less than factual things that Prost suggests in that Roebuck interview, it should be taken with a graint of salt.
The Porsche 956 race was later that same year, when Senna was invited by Reinhold Joest to join Pescarolo and Johansson for the 1000km race. Christopher Hilton's first book on Senna has a passage covering that race, here's part of it:

Johansson and Pescarolo did the morning practice. Senna went out in the afternoon - inevitably it was wet - and he only did one lap. Brought the Porsche smoothly back to the pits and asked, seriously, what were all those markers and switches for. (True. And he had done one lap without knowing). They told him, and, as Pescarolo says, "he was immediatly competitive, you know. After a few laps he was doing a good time. I wasn't really surprised, because I had been told about how promising he was, but he tackled a big car, with a big engine and it all seemed very easy."

Senna was 7th quickest in the wet, and the car eventually qualified 8th. In the race Pescarolo got a puncture in the early laps, and then lost 8 laps to fix a clutch problem. Near the end they also had to contend with water affectign electronic components, which meant they could only finish in 8th.

So, did Senna punt Prost off or not? There must be evidence somewhere to either confirm or discount the Motor Sport interview. I would have expected the motor racing press, Autosport, Autosprint, Motoring News etc , would have reported the race and the rookie/rising star colliding with a F1 front runner would have been newsworthy enough to be mentioned.