For any Formula 1 driver, their first win in the sport is going to be a momentous occasion. It represents decades of hard work, ambition and sacrifice to prove yourself at the very top of motorsport. However, in most cases, only the most dedicated fans of the driver in question will remember their maiden victory. Other than for the man on the top step of the podium, they’re often just regular GPs. With more races than ever in a season, and drivers switching seats like never before, it can be hard to keep track of those debut triumphs.
But everyone knows about Estoril 1985. Ayrton Senna’s first win became part of F1 lore because it demonstrated just what a prodigious talent he was. As the rest of the field floundered in abysmal conditions, so Senna drove his Lotus 95T perfectly, showing off the incredible wet weather skill that always marked him out as a supernatural talent. Famously, he took the chequered flag more than a minute ahead of anybody else, the second-placed Ferrari of Michele Alboreto the only other finisher on the same lap as Senna. Class of the field sells the Brazilian’s achievement that day short - it was an epic drive. And he was behind the wheel of a JPS-liveried Lotus F1 car, so even a DNF would have looked good. But a win by that kind of margin, slithering about in the rain while everyone else threw themselves off, in a black-and-gold Lotus, was supremely cool.
All of this meant that, when McLaren named a 500-unit Ultimate Series model after Senna, at least one person was guaranteed to get a black and gold one. It was just too good a throwback to avoid. Helps that black and gold works very nicely as a colour combination, of course. And this is the car, or at least the only one we know of, an MSO special that pays homage to Ayrton Senna’s Lotus F1 winner.
As befits a car of the Senna’s status, however, this is no mere paint job, as almost £100,000 was spent on optional extras back in 2019. So as well as the MSO Bespoke Black Gold paint and MSO Bespoke John Player Special livery, this got an MSO Bespoke Speedline Gold finish for the ultra-lightweight wheels, MSO Bespoke Gold Contrast Stitching, MSO Bespoke Gold Painted Door Struts (!), MSO Bespoke Steering Wheel with Gold Centre Marking… there are a lot of expensive-sounding McLaren Special Operations extras fitted to this Senna. As well as some more familiar options like the Gorilla Glass, the super lightweight race seats and Bowers & Wilkins stereo. It’s a lavish, unmistakable spec whether you’re into the Senna association or not. There’s surely not another around like this, and that’ll count for a lot.
Encouragingly, this 800hp McLaren track car has been put to use over the past few years. We say ‘encouragingly’ because if ever there was a hypercar to properly appreciate from behind the wheel rather than in the garage, the Senna is it. Time will have done nothing to make it any less absorbing or exhilarating to drive, but by the same token the look hasn’t lost any impact either. The Senna really is a car like no other. This one has notched up 3,692 memorable miles, which is a decent haul by the standards of others out there: alongside a trio for sale on PH with three-figure mileages, there are two yet to breach 100 miles. We should have done this as a High Mile Club.
The advantage of a few miles under the stunning gold wheels is a bit of money to be saved. This is all relative, of course, because not many of us have hundreds of thousands for a new track day car. But despite the option added when new, this JPS-style Senna is £60k less than any other for sale right now. Most others are another £100,000 on top of this car’s £699,995 asking price. And that’ll pay for a lot of track time in all conditions to get working on your best Senna impression. Next stop, Estoril…
1 / 10
Chat about all things motoring
The Pie & Piston
Chat about everything else…
Win on Sunday, talk about it on Monday
Not all cars are created equal
Meet your hero Matt Bird in person
Need to get something off your chest?