Honda And The Spirit Of Senna

I have to say that I’ve very much been enjoying all of the Ayrton Senna retrospectives that have been appearing this week, and for many people it’s hard to remember Ayrton without looking back on his relationship with Honda. Senna’s ties with the automobile manufacturer helped to make a him a hero figure in Japan. Over the years he did lots of work with Honda both on and off the race track, and he’s best remembered for his help testing the Honda NSX and for appearing in commercials for the fourth generation Honda Prelude when it debuted in Japan in 1991.

So with that in mind I thought I’d round up a few of the great videos that document the Senna and Honda connection…

First up is the classic film of Senna and Satoru Nakajima thrashing some N1-spec EFs around Suzuka. It’s simply brilliant seeing these guys in screaming VTEC FF cars.

Next is a longer film that Honda released around the debut of the new Prelude in 1991, which features behind the scenes of footage of Senna in Japan shooting the television commercials for the car. You can see it in five parts here and below.

Last but not least is the film of Senna at Suzuka again testing an NSX-R – a car that he will forever be associated with.

It may have been 20 years since the world lost Ayrton, but the man’s spirit seems to be shining brighter than ever. And that’s a wonderful thing.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: speedhunters_mike



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Every time I watch that video of Senna in the NSX I feel, to drive properly, I need a pair of loafers and white socks...


peter_ayers  I think if you want to drive any 80s/early 90s era sports car fast it has to be done in boat shoes/loafers. I'm thinking of the RUF at Nurburgring film :)

Gianluca FairladyZ

Thank you Speedhunters, to honor this great man! Honestly i would have been dissapointed if you did not bring an article about him :) Proud to have the speedhunters sticker on my ride!


Maybe it's only better if you are also wearing shorts. Maybe even denim shorts? Haha


It was the very least we could do :)


Once again... Speedhunters showing it knows all about cars and drivers... Really awesome article about Honda and Senna.


Gordon Murray on the development of Mclaren F1

"During this time, we were able to visit with Ayrton Senna (the late F1 Champion) and Honda's Tochigi Research Center. The visit related to the fact that at the time, McLaren's F1 Grand Prix cars were using Honda engines. Although it's true I had thought it would have been better to put a larger engine, the moment I drove the Honda NSX, all the benchmark cars—Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini-I had been using as references in the development of my car vanished from my mind. Of course the car we would create, the McLaren F1, needed to be faster than the NSX, but the NSX's ride quality and handling would become our new design target. Being a fan of Honda engines, I later went to Honda's Tochigi Research Center on two occasions and requested that they consider building for the McLaren F1 a 4.5 litre V12 or V14. I asked, I tried to persuade them, but in the end could not convince them to do it, and the McLaren F1 ended up equipped with a BMW engine."


I love how he is just casually heel and toe-ing in a pair of Italian loafers in the NSX, its just so awesome haha


Mike Garrett tennis shorts.


Yet one more reason to love my Prelude. That fantastic handling was graced by Senna's hands :) (figuratively lol)


Can we discuss Senna's mid corner - corner exit THROTTLE technique with the NSX? You know what I mean: That "blipblipblipblipblipb....Slaaaaammmmm" technique?  Actually, in all of the clips as you can hear him doing it too in the EF.
I have seen the NSX Video way back in the day (perhaps more than a decade now). I have also heard him doing it on F1 onboard vids. (Look for: Jerez, Monaco, and Hungarian GP... blipblipblip)
What's up with that?


RinaldiGulinao Looks like he wants the rear to step out abit to avoid understeering, when you do that the rear should step out a little bit.


Great videos.. i've seen a couple of them before - when i think of Senna i think of many of the cars that have been built since his death and how he could put them through their paces - a true Legend.


alex jonson RinaldiGulinao yYu are right and there are many documentaries explaining why Senna did this - some people called it "Senna's Bending" they called it that because as he would reach the corners he would rev the car making sure revs were at the perfect position and as soon as he was at the apex he would press firm back on the pedal. thus " blipblipblip.... slaaammmm" rather that the ass end  "stepping out" if the suspension is set up right, the back will squat down pull square and fling you around/out of the corner.. at high speed this almost looks as if he is bending the car around the corner.  If you look at the 1984 F1 Monaco race where he started in 16th place in the wet you can see this very clearly.


JoshuaWhitcombe  "Casual" being the operative word :)


alex jonson RinaldiGulinao  I've not had the pleasure of driving one, but it would surprise me if the NSX-R was set up for understeer? Definite blipping followed by sideways at 2:00 tho...


alex jonson RinaldiGulinao  I've watched it a load of times now - i think he's actually made an error-then-recoverry in that last corner?


First vid removed? Anyone else?


Hi, thanks fir sharing. I guess there is a problem, all the videos are the same! May I ask you to check and restore the original post?
Thank you.