Ayrton Senna’s Lamborghini-powered McLaren
In 1993 McLaren had to switch from Honda to Ford for its F1 engine supply. Unhappy with Ford, McLaren organised secret Lamborghini powered tests at Silverstone and Estoril
Ayrton Senna saw great success at McLaren, winning all three of his Formula 1 World Championships with the British team. His victories are well documented, but what isn’t as well known is that he wanted a Lamborghini engine in his F1 car.
If you could wind the clock back to September 1993 at Silverstone, you would see none other than Ayrton Senna driving an unbranded car. This white racer was a modified MP4/8, but unlike the regular car, this B model was modified to feature a Lamborghini V12 engine instead of the Ford Cosworth.
More on McLaren...
- McLaren F1: A living legend
- McLaren set to launch 18 new models by 2025
- McLarens for sale on AutoClassics
McLaren were forced to take the Ford engine for the 1993 season due to Honda pulling out of Formula 1 and ending this successful partnership. Performance was lacking and Senna was unhappy that McLaren’s customer Ford V8 engines weren’t as powerful as the factory Ford engines used by Benetton. Months of negotiations between McLaren’s Ron Dennis and Bob Lutz of Chrysler/Lamborghini lead to a handshake deal and the re-engineering of the MP4/8.
Modified to accommodate the larger engine, the now MP4/8B was tested by Senna and Mika Häkkinen at Silverstone. Lamborghini’s V12 had been supplied to smaller teams with limited success, but this was the raging bull’s chance to prove that it could really succeed with the help of a top team like McLaren.
After some feedback from Ayrton and Mika, engineers worked on the V12 to deliver better mid-range performance. Further tinkering and another test at Estoril in Portugal had McLaren’s star driver convinced. He reportedly wanted the engine in the car for the up and coming Japanese grand prix, but Ron Dennis said no.
Behind the scenes Ron was working on a deal with Peugeot to enter F1 off the back of its recent Le Mans success. Where did that leave Lamborghini? Out in the cold. Ford eventually gave McLaren the same engines as Benetton and the team ultimately won the 1993 season. In 1994 the McLaren MP4/9 was powered by a Peugeot V10 that turned out to be terribly unreliable.
Lamborghini was naturally unimpressed, but it had bigger problems to concentrate on. The company was struggling financially and eventually sold by Chrysler to the Indonesian VPower Corporation in 1994.
The McLaren Lamborghini combination could have seen success, but fate — and Ron Dennis — clearly had other ideas.
Classic Cars for Sale
Jaguar S Type R 4.2 v8 supercharged beast, 12 months mot 6 months tax, genuine 72,000mls with 95% service history, electric windows folding mirrors steering column,electric rare glass sunroof rear blinds seats and headrest, remote central locking alarm/immobiser, electric/remote boot opening, full two tone leather interior jaguar touch screen tv sat nav with air con/climate control and enterainmen
A 2002 CLK 320 with optional AMG kit and Wheels, two tone part electric leather heated seats, wooden steering wheel. Electric rear blind. powerful 8 speaker stereo. 85000 miles with 2 previous owners (last one was a lady for 11yrs) untouched spare wheel with original mercedes tool kit and an unopened first aid kit in rear window. Recent discs and pads (2000 miles ago) Recent front tyres
1977 Tax And MOT exempt 10-12 Seater 2.25 Petrol. This vehicle drives and stops and starts on the button, a very solid example. V5 present, New carb refurb,new clutch and brakes, mot and tax exempt, drives well, a few minor issues such as petrol / gauge not working fuses etc. Most all electrics on this vehicle work, however you need to come and see/test it for yourself. Currently located in La
IMPORTANT NOTICE- This car is a collectors item and is best appreciated by those that know their limited edition P38s and hence recognise what they are looking at. The car is an appreciating piece of Land Rover history and deserves to be owned by someone who will preserve it rather than use it as a daily drive and work horse. So here we have a very special 4.6 Vogue SE. There are a number of