SPECIAL GUEST... MY FAVORITE RACING MOVIE
TEAM PENSKE INDYCAR DRIVER
“Once I got into the sport, I
realized that Ayrton Senna was
the guy who set the standard”
ello. Not the usual grinning guy at
the top of this page. Somewhere else in
this issue [page 64], my Team Penske
teammate Helio Castroneves has a big
interview with Scott Dixon and, so that
you don’t get as tired of seeing him as I
am, RACER invited me to fill in. Good call.
It’s been an interesting season for
everyone on our No. 12 Verizon Team
Penske squad, one of those years when
we’ve had our challenges. Strange
circumstances meant we often haven’t
been able to capitalize on our pace, and
there have been two or three races where
I think we could have won. But it goes to
prove you need everything to come
together simultaneously to achieve
success, especially now in IndyCar.
But we’ve also seen progress in certain
areas. Our consistency has improved on
ovals, for example, and I have to say that
my pit crew is the best I’ve ever had;
clean consistent stops every time. Helio
has had an even better year and, as I write
this, he’s leading the IZOD IndyCar Series
championship, so let’s hope he can win the
title that Roger Penske truly deserves.
RACER tells me that this issue is about
racing in the movies, and that’s good
timing after the release of the animated
Dream Works film Turbo this summer. That
was a fun movie, and I think it will help open
kids’ eyes to IndyCar. Mario Andretti, Dario
Franchitti and I all got a line or two in the
film, which was quite a privilege. A story
about a snail who manages to race in the
Indy 500 was pretty inspirational, and I
thought the dialogue was funny, too.
But my favorite racing film isn’t fiction
and it’s not even a biopic. It’s the Senna
documentary that came out a couple of
years ago, showing real footage of him and
interviews with the people who knew him.
As I mentioned in RACER a couple of
issues ago, when I was a kid, my favorite
driver was actually one of Ayrton Senna’s
big rivals, Nelson Piquet. But once I got
into the sport and felt racing could be my
career, I realized Senna was the guy who set
the standard, on and off the track. He was
the pioneer of the type of driver everyone
has to be these days, if they want to be
successful at the top levels of the sport.
Senna caught a lot of his Formula 1
Hrivals by surprise, not just because he had
this great talent and desire to succeed, but
because he also had a desire to make the
most of what he had. He worked so hard
to make sure his abilities kept expanding.
I’ve never believed in what some people
call “natural talent.” You’re not born with
a gift for driving, even if you can inherit
genetics that help you succeed in racing.
For me, it’s something you have to
constantly work at in order to improve.
Let’s face it, you can never have too much
understanding of your job. So getting your
head around why this change to the car
has that effect, how braking and turning
in at this point is better than braking and
turning in at that point – that’s crucial to
making you better than the guy who just
turns up, gets in and drives according to
what he thinks is right.
Well, Senna lived and breathed racing
24/7, and set that template for ambitious
drivers. His outlook has become the norm.
The Senna film also explained why he was
like that – total passion for the sport
combined with an ultra-strong desire to be
the best he could be. And the best Ayrton
could be was better than anyone else!
The movie also showed how Senna zeroed
in on Alain Prost, the guy everyone said was
the best until Ayrton joined him at McLaren.
He was just determined to beat him, and
that’s what I recall of that era of Formula 1.
Even when the pair of them had the best
cars and left everyone else behind, there
weren’t team orders: they fought it out.
The Senna documentary, as well as
showing cool archive footage from one of
F1’s great eras, gave good insight into
Ayrton’s character in and out of the car.
Although he had great rivalries with
Prost, Nigel Mansell, Michael Schumacher,
and so on, he never just settled for
second best behind any of them, never let
himself take it easy or give up trying. So
I’d say the guy who really forced Senna to
dig deep in qualifying or on race day
was…Senna himself. That’s an example
that every pro racer should follow.
Mid-0hio was typical
of Power’s 2013
potential that went
Follow Will on Twitter at @12WillPower
and Team Penske at @PenskeRacing
Asif Kapadia (the
director) and Manish
earned huge plaudits
for their 2010
Ayrton Senna. It truly
captured his brilliance
on track and ruthless
ethics, but also his
nature and the
reasons why he was
around the world.
SENNA - A CLASSIC
OF ITS GENRE