This year, McLaren celebrates 50 years of existence by bringing back two of the stars on their rosters from years gone past: Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard. It’s strange to talk about, seeing as that only recently has my affection for the sport blossomed. And it was only after I learned the story of Ayrton Senna that I realized that there was a place in my heart for this sport. How else could I have explained that after 38 years of being relatively happy without having a car that I find my head filled with sounds of Ken Block’s Gymkhana videos or a screaming MP4, when I would have absolutely balked at such aggressive engines before?
Mid-life crisis, perhaps?
Absolute flyness is what it is.
I think there is a joy to the freedom that driving gives you. You are not restricted as much to the physical limits of your body as when you are transporting yourself on your own steam. It is that promise of open road and that call from within. A secret of life I had discovered late in life. The secret is this: everyone needs a destination. It may be physical or mental but it always exists. The path, as it was in my case, may be covered over but it is always there, waiting for you to find it.
And now, I feel like I’m 21 again, without all the stupid prejudices towards enjoying life. I hear an engine roar, whether it is Senna’s MP4 or V-Rod and I know. I know that I was supposed to arrive here with this affection, at this moment in time because I was supposed to.
I know that life has only just begun and because of McLaren, Coulthard, Button, Hakkinen and, of course, Senna are a part of that.
Continuing the spirit, here is the video with Coulthard and Hakkinen having a little fun.
And this is Ken Block, King of Gymkhana and Chief Hoonigan, the one that drew me to the Dark Side.
Jo Ramirez started working with McLaren in 1983 as Team Coordinator and worked with the greats, like Proust and Senna. This is a one-on-one he had with F1 journalist, Gerald Donaldson, remembering the old times.
I suppose after Mandela’s death, I just feel like revisiting old friends I never knew, like Senna. I find comfort in their company.