I Wanted F1 Legend Ayrton Senna's Sonic Trophy So Bad, I Made My Own 1
Image: Darren Browne / McLaren Shadow

On April 11th 1993, the Formula One European Grand Prix was held at Donington Park in Leicestershire, England. This event is mainly remembered for two reasons: the incredible performance of the late Brazilian F1 legend Ayrton Senna and the event being heavily sponsored by Sega. You can read more about Senna’s epic performance and how Sega came to sponsor the event here.

One of the most iconic photos from the day is that of race winner Ayrton Senna lifting a trophy of Sonic the Hedgehog above his head.

While this wasn’t the official winner’s trophy (that would be presented later), it was an amazing moment for Sega fans; back in the early nineties, video games weren’t seen as mainstream, so seeing a video game mascot feature so prominently and in front of a global audience felt special.

The fact it was Senna lifting the trophy made it extra special due to his connection with Sega – the Brazilian had worked with the Japanese company one year earlier, and endorsed their Mega Drive / Genesis title, Super Monaco GP II.

The Sonic F1 trophy was fondly remembered by fans, but it would be a number of years before it would be seen again – 25 years to be exact – when McLaren replied to a post on X (formerly Twitter) in 2018, sharing a photo of the trophy sat on a shelf.

Many fans questioned why it wasn’t in a trophy cabinet, and McLaren obviously took note, as it shared another post in 2020 stating, “The trophy returns to MTC. You asked, we listened! 🧡”. (MTC being the McLaren Technology Centre, their headquarters in Basingstoke, England).

A few years later, I found someone had made a 3D-printed model of the Sonic F1 trophy and made the file available via the website Sketchfab. This is where my project of owning a Sonic the Hedgehog F1 trophy began; I paid the license fee (£4/$4.80), downloaded the file and reached out to my friend, Andrew from The Back Office Show, to help me with the 3D print.

Andrew was more than happy to help, and a few months later, I had a 3D-printed model in my hands – in blue, quite appropriately!

The next task was finding someone to paint it, and for this, I reached out to Rob at R.A.W. Talent Art – having previously used his services for a custom Mortal Kombat Dreamcast shell, I knew it was in good hands.

Knowing how good Rob’s work is, I was expecting it to look good, but I was still blown away by how good this model looked when I unboxed it.

It may sound like a cliché, but pictures really don’t do it justice – it has a glossy finish, making it smooth to the touch and giving it a nice shine – Rob even went to the trouble of adding felt to the base, making it feel even more authentic as a replica trophy.

As a fan of F1 and Sega, I’m really happy with the way this statue turned out and it’s great to see that even in 2024, McLaren is still posting about this iconic statue.