Ayrton Senna memorabilia: five of the most important pieces

May 1 marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Aryton Senna at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

His breathtaking performances on the track quickly established him as a fan-favourite, while his turbulent personal life put him under constant scrutiny from the tabloids.

Join us as we look at five pieces of memorabilia that tell the story of his extraordinary career.

5. Signed balaclava - $2,186

Aryton Senna balaclava
Senna wore the balaclava during his 1993 season - Image: Silverstone Auctions

Senna signed this balaclava in 1993 while he was racing for McLaren.

His relationship with the organisation remained strained throughout the season as he had hoped to race for Williams that year.

Despite his issues with McLaren, he managed to uphold his reputation as the most exciting racer on the planet and finished the season in second place behind Prost.

The balaclava sold for £1,298 ($2,186) at F1 specialist Silverstone Auctions in Warwickshire, UK in 2013.

4. Signed photograph - $4,000

Senna 1991 sig
The photograph was taken at Le Castellet in 1990 - Image: International Autograph Auctions

This signed photograph made $4,000 at International Autograph Auctions in the UK in 2013. It was taken at Circuit Paul Ricard at Le Castellet during Senna's exceptional 1990 season.

He finished third at Le Castellet behind Prost, but finished the championship in first place. The bold and well centred signature is dated 1991.  

3. 1989 Honda McLaren race suit - $21,862

Senna raced for McLaren-Honda during the 1989 season. Despite winning six of the championship's 16 races, he still finished the season in second place.

The Japanese leg proved highly controversial as judges handed the Driver's Championship to Prost (also driving for McLaren) after he and Senna collided at the last chicane.

This would be the last time the two men would drive for the same team.

The suit made $21,862 at Silverstone Auctions in November last year.

2. Signed helmet - $125,938

Senna helmet 1993
Senna's helmet is among the most iconic symbols in motorsport - Image: Silverstone Auctions

Senna's yellow crash helmet is undoubtedly one of motorsport's most iconic symbols. This example is thought to have been worn during the 1993 season with McLaren and features a solid signature at the crown.

Custom painter Sid Mosca designed the colour palette (which appears in the Brazilian flag), describing the yellow as representing youth and the coloured bands as symbolising speed.

The helmet sold for £74,750 ($125,938) at Silverstone Auctions in February 2012.

1. 1982 Ralt RT3 F3 car - $190,382

Senna Formula 3
Senna proved himself an intuitive driver during his short time in Formula 3 - Image: Silverstone Auctions

This car was raced by Senna for West Surrey in his incendiary victory in the 1982 Formula 3 championships. After his win he was moved up to Formula 1 in 1984, where he raced for Toleman.

Senna dominated the track during his time in Formula 3, setting the template for his career in the sport's top echelons. It was in Formula 3 that his short fuse began to make itself apparent in a series of bust ups with rival drivers.

The car was fully renovated and appears exactly as it did when Senna first stepped into the cockpit. It sold for £113,000 ($190,382) at Silverstone Auctions in May 2012.

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