Ayrton Senna's Formula 1 cars: 1987 - Lotus 99T
1 pole, 16 starts, 2 wins, 8 podiums
Renault exited F1 at the end of 1986, and Lotus replaced the French firm’s engine with a 1.5-litre V6 turbocharged engine made by Honda. It would be Senna’s first taste of Honda power, and the agreement meant Satoru Nakajima replaced Dumfries in the second Lotus seat. The 99T used electronic active suspension, giving the car more stability and a higher top speed at the cost of extra weight.
It’s of little surprise that Senna’s two wins in 1987 came on street tracks, where the clever suspension had the biggest impact. Senna’s win at Monaco was his first in the principality, and his victory at the Detroit Grand Prix in the next round provided Senna with his first back-to-back wins.
After Detroit Senna again led the standings, and was still in contention two-thirds of the way through the season, but eight podiums weren’t enough to keep pace with eventual champion Piquet.