Formula One Race Cars on Forsyth Street for “Senna” Premiere

Posted on: August 15th, 2011 at 6:09 am by

Forsyth street has never seen cars like this before.

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It was a bit, to say the least, unexpected. Almost an entire block of Formula One race cars and other types of exotic vehicles rarely spied on the downtown streets of Manhattan. If the average Lower East Sider saw such a display on their block, their first thought might be that a bunch of NYU kids were remaking a version of “Speed Racer.”

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This wasn’t a movie shoot, but you’re getting warmer! The occasion was the nearby premier of “Senna,” a documentary about the life of the late Brazilian Formula One racing driver and three time world champion, Ayrton Senna, around the corner at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema.

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In addition to the – shall we call it surreal – display against a backdrop of typical Lower East Side tenement buildings, augmented by the whistles and whomping basketballs from the Sara D. Roosevelt Park across the street, there were also personal appearances by the film’s writer Manish Pandey and ESPN’s John Bisignano. Also along for the “ride” was Alex Roy, an American rally race driver who, aside from breaking a transcontinental driving record across the United States in 2006 (in 31 hours, 4 minutes), also managed a more local – and perhaps more unbelievable – feat. In an achievement that undoubtedly left many cabbies envious, Roy set a record for a lap around Manhattan in 2001, rounding the island in approximately 27 minutes. He chatted with fans and posed for photos on Forsyth Street today along side his modified BMW M5, which he used on his (not terribly legal) cross country trip.

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Other race cars (alien to this Lower East Side gal, who only uses her drivers license to get into local bars) included a 1979 Tyrrell 009 F1 and a 1976 McLaren M23 F1. Also on display amidst the film posters and the black-and-white checkered flags and balloons lining the block, were a selection of exotic cars including a Ferrari Scuderia, a 2005 Lotus Elise, and a 2007 Maserati QP GTS. Since the car engines were not on, the most notable sound effects were the swooning and sighing emanating from many of the men (and a few women) who were passing by.

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Story and photos by Lori Greenberg

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