Cars, racing suits, helmets, steering wheels, drawings, photographs, films, memorabilia but also 20 files on Senna’s personal life. The driver and the man Ayrton Senna is celebrated at the National Automobile Museum in Turin with AYRTON SENNA FORVER, an exhibition dedicated to him curated by Carlo Cavicchi, historic director of Autosprint.

Partner of the exhibition, Nardi-Personal exhibited the Personal FW16 A.S. CAR 2, the definitive prototype of Ayrton Senna’s steering wheel mounted on the Williams FW16 in the home race, the Brazilian Grand Prix held at Interlagos in 1994, the first round of the Formula 1 World Championship.

From his debut in Toleman to his three world titles with McLaren to the fateful 1994 with Williams, the Brazilian legend raced with Italian steering wheels. Known for being very strict about quality and safety, Ron Dennis wanted the Nardi brand exclusively. The steering wheels specially designed for McLaren were reminiscent of the shape of the classic Nardi steering wheel – with a wood-coated aluminium armature, a very thin grip and a rather large diameter. The steering wheels at that time ranged in diameter from approx. 265mm to 300mm, with the leather upholstery being approx. 2.5mm thick.

Very meticulous and gifted with great sensitivity, Ayrton Senna used to ask for a special steering wheel, identified as ‘Senna style’. In contrast to the majority of drivers who used steering wheels with anatomical shapes, a crown of several sections, a set hand grip and a diameter of around 278 mm, the Brazilian champion, like the others at McLaren, used a steering wheel with a larger crown, a diameter of 298mm, and a steady, thin grip. The large-diameter steering wheel allowed him a precise, almost surgical drive when searching for the apex of a curve. For this reason, Ayrton did not want to drive with Williams’ anatomical steering wheels.

“It is an honour for us to be present and to remember the Brazilian champion. From road cars to racing cars, champions of the calibre of Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve won world titles in Formula One with Nardi-Personal’s sports steering wheels,” says Lorenzo Cerofolini, CEO of Nardi-Personal.

Italian genius, craftsmanship, the highest quality and passion for engines. The company led by Lorenzo Cerofolini was founded in 1932 as a supplier to the most important car manufacturers, from Ferrari to Audi, up to Rolls Royce and McLaren. An Italian excellence that has its roots in the genius of Enrico Nardi, a pioneer of mechanics whose path met with the greatest in the automotive industry: from Vincenzo Lancia, among the first to believe in his abilities, to Enzo Ferrari for whom he worked first as a test driver and then as a procurer, so much so that most of the Prancing Horse’s cars were equipped with his steering wheels.

“Made in Italy, highest quality and driving perfection. We still keep Enrico Nardi’s philosophy alive today. The steering wheel is that part of the car where the driver’s skill is concentrated, the fulcrum of willpower and perfection. The steering wheel is connected to the hands. So to the arms, the heart and the brain. It is everything you need to make decisions, to express yourself with personality, courage and skill,’ says Cerofolini.

Nardi-Personal Spa today is an international automotive boutique. From the passion for craftsmanship and made in Italy comes car steering wheels of all types: wooden or leather, perfectly round or slightly squared, classic or more sporty. Each piece is unique. Even today, each steering wheel is made and finished by hand before and after polishing and painting. The sophisticated machines and computerised control instruments belong to the present. The production, which also extends to knobs, gearstick boots, horns, brake levers and pedals, fashion and lifestyle, is best known in the product customisation market of historic and luxury cars. But that is not all. The range of action extends to the luxury boat steering market.