Britain’s kart legend Terry Fullerton on hand to witness Richard Dean taking to the track in ex-Senna DAP kart
United Autosports has just finished restoring the last kart Ayrton Senna is understood to have ever raced. Zak Brown purchased the 1981 DAP kart at a Bonhams Auction in January and following a six month rebuild, United’s other co-owner Richard Dean shook down the rebuilt kart on 3 August.
The late Ayrton Senna began his competitive career driving karts. The three-time Formula 1 World Champion, one of the world’s greatest ever racing drivers, drove this particular DAP in his last outing in a kart race, finishing fourth in the 1981 World Championships staged in Parma, Italy. The kart was new for this event and prepared to the Brazilian legend’s personal preferences. Senna was already racing in single-seaters in 1981, contesting the British Formula Ford 1600 Championship but made a final return to karting in an attempt to win a title that had always eluded him.
Fittingly, Senna’s long-time sparring partner from karting and sometime DAP kart team-mate, Terry Fullerton, was in attendance to witness Dean in the ex-Senna kart at the Lydd circuit in Kent, England, last week. Briton Fullerton, the 1973 World Kart Champion, was Senna’s “factory” DAP team-mate between 1978-80. After winning the first final at the 1980 World Championships, Fullerton’s engine broke whilst leading the second final and ultimately finished third overall, behind Senna who came second overall. They were regarded by team manager Angelo Parilla as the best two drivers in the world.
At a press conference at the 1993 Australian Grand Prix, when asked which driver he had the most satisfaction racing against, Senna cited Fullerton. The quote was included in the Senna documentary in 2010.
1981 DAP Kart
Chassis: DAP BH33
Series: CIK-FIA World Championship
Driver: Ayrton Senna
Performance Statistics: 14 horsepower, 0-60 in 4 seconds, 75mph Top Speed