Hello Bruno. What’s it like driving a car with your last name on it?
It’s something quite incredible and moving, because Ayrton had this dream of producing a car in his image, based on his knowledge and his ideas. He had a little part in the development of the Honda NSX when he was at McLaren (1988-1993 inclusive. Editor’s note), but having a « Senna » was something he carried with him. Unfortunately, he couldn’t have the time to realize this dream and it’s something we always wanted to do in his name, for him, but we needed the right partner. Luckily, my relationship with McLaren allowed me to initiate this project. When they showed me the car they were working on when it was still just a model, when they explained to me that it had the ambition to be the most extreme road car, I I knew this was the project we were waiting for and I remember telling them: » Why not call her Senna? That’s how it all started, and it’s been a magnificent achievement. Powerful, light, uniquely designed for driving pleasure, it reflects the “purist” that Ayrton was. No hybrid system, no crazy assistance, it’s a race car for the road.
Did you participate in its development?
Not as much as I would have liked, because I was busy with my racing activities, but yes. I collaborated with Kenny Bräck (winner of the 1999 Indianapolis 500 Miles. Editor’s note), chief development driver for McLaren Automotive Ltd, who did an absolutely fantastic job. The car is incredibly fast on the track, and has a lot to offer.
Do you have a thought for your uncle every time you slip behind the wheel?
Inevitably, because of everything we have just talked about! This car is a digest of Ayrton. With it, we wanted to capture as much as possible what Ayrton expected from a car, and I think we succeeded. It even goes beyond our expectations, with the specifications it contains. See also those discreet touches of green and yellow reminiscent of the Brazilian flag of which he was so proud… It is an evocation of Ayrton, down to the smallest detail.
Was it to promote it that you accepted the role of ambassador offered to you by McLaren?
Yes, but not just because I’ve been linked to McLaren since 2014 actually. I am present at a certain number of events, I participate in « track-days » and I have already collaborated in the development of several models of the firm other than the « Senna » such as the « P1 GTR », the « 720S ”, the “765 Spider”, the “Senna GTR” and the latest, the “McLaren GT”. It’s great to be part of this whole process, especially when you meet people who are having their first experience driving such cars.
How long have you been living in Monaco?
2013! There are quite a few Brazilians who live in the Principality, and a handful of drivers like Felipe Massa, Nelsinho Piquet, Lucas di Grassi with whom I grew up. Before I was in London where, coming from Brazil, I really had trouble with the weather. When I arrived here, I wondered why I hadn’t moved sooner. (Laughter) Besides, I’m a big fan of cycling and from that point of view, there is nothing better than the backcountry roads.
Do you often go back to Brazil?
It’s easier now that I don’t run anymore. When I was active, I went there mainly for holidays. When you make more than 100 plane trips a year, you’re happy to do