Schumacher.  Fangio.  Vettel.  Clark.  Moss.  Prost.  Senna.  If there was a Mount Rushmore for Formula One drivers, each would have a strong stake to their claim.  Personal memories from childhood would allow Ayrton Senna to be the first cast for immortality in granite.  Back in the 80’s, the television brought Senna into my living room.  The broadcasts were my window to the world of Formula One.  Senna vs. Prost.  Senna vs. Mansell.  What I didn’t know was that I was watching some of the best rivalries and brightest talents in auto racing history.  

On a given day, a given circumstance, you think you have a limit.  And you then go for this limit and you touch this limit…and you think, ‘Okay, this is the limit.’  As soon as you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further.  With your mind power, your determination, your instinct and the experience as well, you can fly very high.
— -- Ayrton Senna [Interview, Racing Is In My Blood, 1991]

Senna was an aggressive magician that took no quarter.  I could close my eyes as the cars ran through the tunnel at Monaco and the difference was palpable.  Senna was the difference.  He simply sounded faster.  He was faster.  Imagine winning the pole at Monaco by over 1.4 seconds.  With the best drivers and hyper-competitive technology, 1.4 seconds – in 1 lap – is an eternity.  There were stories of how he’d attack the apex where the car would magically be a hair’s width from the edge.  The car would appear to bend around the turn.  Its stuff of legend.  There was the ’84 Monaco race where Senna was superhuman – so early in his career - in the heaviest of rain.  Here’s 10-minutes from the TV broadcast --


Looking back on Senna’s Formula One career, there were 41 wins from 161 starts and 3 World Championships.  His virtuosity and intensity reached beyond the track and into the stands and into living rooms across the world to millions of adoring fans.  Senna drove on the edge.  Senna took his fans to the edge.  Today, May 1, is the 20th Anniversary of the on-track death of Ayrton Senna.  Personally, as a great fan, memories of his racing career – where there was seemingly no limit – bring me a great sense of resolve.  Be determined or…as my former personal training clients would hear from me every day…keep moving!  Rest in peace, Ayrton.  Your light shines on.  

Richard Williams