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How Ayrton Senna once won a race without front brakes?

Samriddhi Jaiswal

How Ayrton Senna once won a race without front brakes?

Brazillian F1 legend Ayrton Senna was famous for his aggressive driving style and punting the other drivers on the track.

There have been many infamous incidents that have showcased Senna’s extreme racing style in F1 but there is one quite unbelievable incident that happened before the Brazillian made his mark in F1 and became the GOAT.

It was 1982, Senna was racing in the Formula Ford 2000 and he won one of the most amazing races of his career 259 km away from London in Snetterton.

At first, due to the problems with his car, Senna slowed down but he soon adapted his driving style to whatever he had and overtook his rivals and won the race without front brakes.

Also Read: Ayrton Senna was called ‘Harry’ by his mechanics for this particular reason

How did Ayrton Senna control his car without brakes?

The 22-year-old Senna had started the race from the pole and had succeeded in keeping the lead going into the first turn of the track but his race soon took a dramatic turn.

During the first lap, a crash down the grid had spitted debris all over the track and when Senna slowed down to avoid the debris he realised he had lost his front brakes.

Due to that, he was overtaken by his teammate, Russell Spence and Kenny Andrews. Though despite facing brake failure, Senna adapted his driving style and started to go faster than anyone else on the track.

Soon, he regained the lead and crossed the chequered flag using only his rear brakes. However, the Brazillian was forced to bring his car to a halt on the first turn, which was close to the pit lane.

Senna’s mechanics did not believe him

Senna parked his car on the side of the track on turn 1 and walked up to his garage and explained what had happened to his mechanics and engineers.

Everyone thought he was exaggerating because he had just won the race. His engineers were indeed left surprised when they retrieved the car back to the garage and realised that the front brake disk was cold, which meant it hadn’t been used.

This victory had put Senna on his journey to ultimately clinch the Formula ford 200 title.

Also Read: Family of Ayrton Senna once tried to talk him out of his future $200 million racing career

About the author

Samriddhi Jaiswal

Samriddhi Jaiswal


Samriddhi Jaiswal is an F1 editor and writer at The SportsRush. She started her career as a business journalist but soon found her calling in lights out here we go! Samriddhi has been a Ferrari fan even when her interaction with F1 was occasional. Her first real experience with the thrilling sport came when Charles Leclerc clinched his iconic victory in Spa and Monza and painted the track red. Now, a Tifosi, Samriddhi is a hardcore fan of the prancing horse and can relate to the chaos within the Italian camp and also admires Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher. Off the track, she finds her home in books and musical instruments.

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