The Toleman TG183B Hart S4 might have had a double rear wing and a 1,459 cc turbo four in the middle, but the young Ayrton Senna could only get eight laps out of it around the Jacarepaguá Circuit in Rio de Janeiro in front his home audience thanks to a turbo failure.
In 1983, Senna tested for Williams, McLaren, Brabham and Toleman, so he had a fair idea about who's the best out there. It wasn't Toleman, a team with barely three years of experience in the bag, but Senna only got long-term test offers from both Lotus, McLaren and Brabham, and despite being faster than Keke Rosberg at Donington Park in a Williams, neither Frank Williams nor Ron Dennis could give him a seat.
A saving hand could have come from Peter Warr of Lotus, who wanted to replace Nigel Mansell with the Brazilian, but Imperial Tobacco wished to have an Imperial driver. Brabham's second seat was lost when Senna was slower than Nelson Piquet, who asked Parmalat to sign Roberto Moreno instead of "the São Paulo taxi driver".
After seeing many doors shut, he signed with Toleman Motorsport, who were using the less competitive Pirelli tires and could only give him the 1983 car for the 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix as the new hasn't been finished in time. Senna's teammate was Venezuelan Johnny Cecotto.
This is how the TG183B Hart S4 sounded like for about eight laps for Senna after starting from the 17th grid, and for Cecotto too, who had to retire in the 18th for similar reasons. Toleman was using and upgraded version of the Hart F2 engine instead of Lancias as it was originally planned in 1980.
When you have a slow car, you wish for some rain, and that's exactly what brought Senna his first real success.
In a rain-soaked Monaco, he finished in a close 2nd behind Alain Prost, whose McLaren MP4/2 was suffering from a brake balance problem. That remained Toleman Motorsport's best result, but not Senna's.
As for his debut car, you can find it at the Donington Grand Prix Collection, just like certain Marlboro McLarens...
Photo credit: Supermac1961 and Getty Images