Top race team plan Senna tribute

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 November, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 November, 1994, 12:00am

WEST Surrey Racing, the most successful team in Formula Three racing, will dedicate any success at this weekend's Macau Grand Prix to one-time team driver Ayrton Senna, who was tragically killed at the San Marino Grand Prix earlier this year.

UK-based West Surrey, which has virtually dominated the British Formula Three Championships, made their debut in Macau on a warm November's day 11 years ago when Senna drove perhaps the greatest victory in winning the 1983 Macau Grand Prix.

West Surrey Racing team manager Dick Bennetts, said his team's Mobil-sponsored four-car assault, led by last year's British Formula Three champion and Jordan Grand Prix driver Kelvin Burt, would love to win in memory of Senna.

'We found it hard to cope with Senna's death. I knew him very well. At that time, in Macau, he was the rising young Brazilian driver,' said Bennetts.

'We have been coming every year to Macau since Senna won for us for the first time.' Fittingly, following Senna's victory in 1983, West Surrey went on to further success including another win in 1985 through another Brazilian, Mauricio Gugelmin. More recently, the team have been finding victory in Macau hard to come by although they gained pole position in 1990 and finished second overall in 1991.

But Senna's win in Macau for West Surrey Racing holds special significance in the history of the Macau Grand Prix, which this year is celebrating its 41st anniversary.

The new facilities built last year include a museum of old cars and machines which raced in Macau. The prized item is Senna's victorious F3 car which the former three-time world champion donated to the museum only months before his untimely death.

Meanwhile, Burt, who suffered gearbox problems but finished third overall in last year's Macau Grand Prix, said he has unfinished business to attend to when he competes in this year's event.

Burt has, this year, spent more time on the testing circuit but insists he's not completely rusty from his long absence in a Formula Three car.

'I've competed in five Porsche Super Cup races and a British Touring race while testing for Jordan. I had four or five days testing in West Surrey and I have managed to get right back on the pace,' said the 27-year-old Briton.