Ayrton Senna's record-breaking F1 lap of the Suzuka Circuit in 1989 has been re-created in light and sound, thanks to telemetry data recorded by Honda.
During the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix F1 qualifying lap, championship driver Ayrton Senna, who is widely regarded as one of the finest drivers to ever take to F1, set a record lap: 5.8 kilometres in 1:38.041 in a Honda-powered McLaren (since beaten by Schumacher, with 1:28.954 in 2006). Although this was officially annulled after Senna was disqualified from the race due to a collision, the lap itself cannot be expunged from history.
This is partly due to Honda's telemetry system, introduced in 1981 to record driving data. Installed in the car, it wirelessly transmits information to a computer, recording the accelerator, gear, engine rotation, vehicle speed and distance travelled, allowing drivers to analyse their performance to make tweaks for future drives.
Taking Senna's data from that 1989 lap, Honda, advertising company Dentsu and production company Rhizomatiks have re-created the drive right on the Suzuka Circuit with a system of loudspeakers and LEDs along the track. Using a simulator, they calculated the number of LEDs required and entered in the speed data to determine the sequence of the LEDs lighting up.
In addition, the team recorded the sound of the McLaren Honda MP4/5. They placed a recording device on the car's engine and raced it around the circuit, uploading the recorded sounds into a library. These were compared to Senna's telemetry data, and synthesised to sync up, with an audio recording of the actual race providing a reference point for accuracy.
The finished product gave us chills. Scroll a bit further down to see the qualifying lap itself as filmed by Senna's on-board camera, and visit Honda's official website about the project for more info.