Ayrton Senna is one of the greatest drivers in Formula 1, if not in all of motorsports. The very car that gave him his F1 career debut and announced him in great fashion when the Brazilian drove it to near-victory at the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix, the Toleman TG184-2, is up for sale for a reported price of £1million (RM5.88 million).
Chassis TG184-2 was driven by the 24-year old Senna in that iconic race, overtaking on the very narrow street circuit having started from 13th place up to second place behind leader Alain Prost after overtaking Niki Lauda on lap 19, while driving an inferior car to the championship leaders, in wet conditions so severe that race marshals decided to cut it short.
Many have speculated that should the race had carried on, Senna would have taken victory away from Prost – something that would happen more often later down the line. Indeed, the timesheets showed that in the laps before the race was stopped, Senna was catching Prost's McLaren at a scarcely believable 4 seconds a lap.
The number 19 Toleman TG184-2 was presented as a gift to former Ferrari driver Stefan Johansson in 1985 and remained in his possession until 1994 - the year of Senna’s fatal racing accident at the Imola Grand Prix – when it was sold to its current owner. Kept in excellent condition since then, the car has not needed any restoration work and, therefore, remains entirely original.
Designed by Rory Byrne and Pat Symonds, its body featured a distinctive double rear wing and has a Hart 415T 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine that could produce more than 600hp when in race-spec, coupled to a Hewland 5-speed manual gearbox.
Rarely does any machine encapsulate a racing driver’s burgeoning talents and future greatness quite like this Toleman does to the racing career of Ayrton Senna. The Monaco Grand Prix of 1984 had all the ingredients in place announce a new contender to the world stage, one that would personify the sport and profession for years to come, and sparking one of the greatest racing rivalries in F1 history, Senna vs Prost.
Three years ago, this Toleman, unbelievably, failed to sell at auction with its £550,000 (RM3.23 million) reserve price. This time around at Silverstone Auctions, that figure has reportedly doubled.
All things considered, maybe even at RM5.88 million, it’s still a bargain.