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Pagenaud to honour Senna in Indy 500

Simon Pagenaud has unveiled a special Indy 500 helmet design in honour of F1 world champion Ayrton Senna, which will be auctioned off for charity.
Simon Pagenaud was the focus of a special press conference at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, at which he unveiled a special race helmet for the Indy 500 inspired by the racing colours and helmet design of three-time F1 world champion Ayrton Senna.

"Ayrton Senna has been my lifelong hero," said Pagenaud, who will auction off the helmet after the race to benefit the Ayrton Senna Institute, which promotes children's literacy efforts in Brazil. "Senna has been the inspiration for my entire life, whether I'm in a race car or not

"He was my hero as a child, my role model as a teenager and my example as a human and a race car driver.

"Even though I never met him, I inspired my whole life after him, understanding what it was all about, what he was thinking, his approach to racing - focused and dedicated - and that strength he had about concentrating," he added. "It was just understanding what he was saying that led me to understanding myself.

"To me, this is a way to continue his legacy somehow and this is the only way I could find to do something and show my passion for what he did," said the Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports driver. "I started thinking about [the helmet] about two months ago."

Pagenaud was joined at the press conference by three compatriots of Senna: three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves, 2003 Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran, and last year's winner Tony Kanaan, who shared their memories of the great driver who died in an accident at Imola in 1994.

"I have memories of the first time I met Ayrton, and the influence he has on me," said Castronves. "He was the first driver I heard who talked about physical conditioning and concentration. Really special to me was what he did for Brazil. Here, 20 years after his passing, he is revered as a hero, still remembered for carting the Brazilian flag around the race course."

"He elevated the sport, which is one of the reasons he stands out," offered de Ferran. "He did much for Brazil, for the kids in Brazil and for the world in general. He was an athlete the people could recognize. He inspired a whole generation. His helmet, the one we have here today, is something very personal."

"I owe a lot to Ayrton for where I am today," added Kanaan. "When I was young and just getting onto racing, I remember before the last race in the contract I had, Ayrton told me he would help me any way he could. He told my car owner that he would be smart to keep me. And he did.

"Ayrton was a hero to almost everyone in Brazil and I was amazed at how he was received all over the world," Kanaan continued. "It was not just about what he had done, but more about what it had led to. We have won 500s and we're still not as great as he was."



Related Pictures

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Simon Pagenaud`s Ayrton Senna helmet (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud, Tony Kanaan and Gil De Ferran during a press conference at IMS (Photo by: Tim Holle for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud, Tony Kanaan and Gil De Ferran during a press conference at IMS (Photo by: Tim Holle for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais with his son after winning Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
The red flag is waived halting attempts to start Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto on Saturday. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway and Team Owner Ed Carpenter celebrate victory in Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais gets a congratulatory hug from team co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven after winning Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Chevrolet sweeps the podium with winner Mike Conway (center), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. Tony Kanaan (left), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet celebrates his second-place finish. Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates his third-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway on his way to victory in the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway jumps for joy after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway with the winner`s flag after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway receives the winner`s trophy after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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