Guy Martin set to race Jenson Button in Ayrton Senna's iconic first-ever Formula One car for Channel 4

Guy Martin set to race Jenson Button in Ayrton Senna's iconic first-ever Formula One car for Channel 4
Guy Martin (Source: Getty Images)

Channel 4 has announced that it has teamed up with Williams Heritage to rebuild the first-ever racing car driven by Formula One icon Ayrton Senna.

Speaking at the 'Sheffield International Documentary Festival', Guy Martin — who is better known publicly as a motorcycle racer turned television presenter — announced that he will be getting behind the wheels of the car to race former F1 champion Jenson Button.

While the race itself is exciting, it's undoubtedly the cars that they will drive that will be the center of attention. Martin will be getting behind the wheels of the Williams FW08C, which as mentioned previously, was the first-ever Formula One car driven by Senna, who gave it a spin at Donington Park in July 1983. It was retired after the 1983 'European Grand Prix' at Brands Hatch.


Button will take on Martin in the Channel 4 documentary (Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Jenson, on the other hand, will take on Martin in one of the most unusual cars in the sport's history, the FW08B — a six-wheeled Williams prototype that was banned by the motor sport's governing body just a few months before the 1983 season began. This instance will mark the first-ever time it has been driven competitively. 

The showdown between the two drivers will be the culmination of the presenter's new documentary, 'Speed with Guy Martin: Classic F1 Driver' and will be aired on Channel 4 later this year.

Martin will embark on what has been described as 'the huge challenge of rebuilding Senna's car' and see as he gets to grips with the 'intricate engineering and 'specialized racing technology of a thoroughbred F1 car.' Learning to drive the car will present an entirely new challenge in itself.

Speaking about the documentary and his experience, Martin said, "I feel that I’m in good company behind the wheel of the Williams FW08C. It was the first F1 car to be driven by the great Ayrton Senna and it won the 1983 Monaco Grand Prix."


 It’s been a real privilege to work with Williams on bringing this iconic piece of motoring history back to life. Jenson may be a world champion but with a stunning vehicle like this, all bets are off," he continued.

Tom Porter, commissioning editor at Channel 4, seemed to be equally excited at the prospect of the two squaring up against one another.

"Guy has spent months putting his prodigious energy and talent into this unique challenge made possible through the unprecedented access Williams has given us to its machinery and expertise," he said.

He also had some words of praise for Button, who is currently competing in the Japanese Super GT Series, driving for Team Kunimitsu. Porter said, "Over the years Channel 4 has built a great partnership with Formula One, and we’re delighted to be engineering this singular meeting of the sport’s history with a contemporary icon like Jenson."


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