Simon Pagenaud will pay tribute to Ayrton Senna with a specially designed helmet for the Indianapolis 500.
There’s always news at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Drivers change teams, teams repair damaged cars, drivers go quickly, drivers go slowly - there’s a good reason to hold a press conference every day of the week when there’s activity at The Brickyard’s 2.5-mile oval.
On a cold and damp Friday morning, the winner of the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Frenchman Simon Pagenaud acknowledged his racing hero Ayrton Senna. Three months ago Pagenaud contacted the Senna family with a request to wear Senna’s famous yellow helmet in this year’s Indy 500.
Senna, who tragically lost his life at Imola in 1994, was an inspiration to the Frenchman - despite the fact that he was constantly fighting national hero Alain Prost. "I have always found myself in Senna's explanation of what driving a race car feels like," Pagenaud said. "I have read, analyzed and studied his racecraft. I've always found so much strength in the dedication he committed to driving to perfection."
It’s the mental application that appealed so much to Pagenaud, who invited Brazilians Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan and Gil de Ferran to join him in the presentation of the helmet. De Ferran was the one that helped Pagenaud connect with the Senna family. “We are really pleased to receive this special homage,” Senna’s niece and director of the Ayrton Senna Institute, Bianca Senna said. “In 2014, celebrating 20 years of Ayrton’s legacy, we are happy with all the tributes he is receiving around the world.”
Following the Indianapolis 500, the helmet will be offered at auction to benefit the Ayrton Senna Institute, which benefits the poorest children of Brazil.