Week in Motoring: Ayrton Senna's first F1 race car up for auction

Plus Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge goes green; do-it-yourself Harley-Davidson design; Volvo sponsors Chinese NBA star; Speedy supercar for fraction of price of Bugatti Veyron.

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Maybe you saw the actual race live; maybe you just recently caught it in the excellent documentary Senna. But the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix was the scene of one of the most spectacular shows of rain driving in the history of Formula One, and it heralded the arrival of a young Ayrton Senna. Now, the very car he drove to a second-place finish that day can be yours - for the right amount of money, of course.

The Toleman TG184-2 the Brazilian was driving will be up for auction on May 16 at The Spring Sale, hosted by Silverstone Auctions in Northamptonshire, UK.

The car has been in a private collection for the past 16 years.

The three-time F1 champion began his career with Toleman, a backmarker team on the F1 grid, but surprised everyone in Monaco by sailing through the field on a very wet track to take a controversial second place in a rain-shortened race. Senna also drove this car to a third-place finish at the British Grand Prix and a seventh spot in Canada.

The auction will also feature other cars for sale, but the provenance of the Toleman virtually guarantees it will go for the highest amount on the day.

Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge offsets CO2 emissions

Having more than 360 cars, heavy trucks and motorcycles bounding across the desert may not be very environmentally beneficial, but the organisers of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge have taken steps to offset the damage of the eight-day endurance race.

The Automobile and Touring Club of UAE (ATCUAE) has signed a deal to buy carbon credits with Advanced Global Trading, a company that trades in the green stock, in an attempt to offset the CO2 produced from the race.

"This challenging event takes place in a beautiful country with one of the most spectacular settings in the world, so we must take every measure we can to ensure the environment doesn't suffer from our passion," said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the head of the ATCUAE.

The calculations for the carbon credits include not only the race vehicles but also the teams' and organisers' support trucks and the four medical helicopters.

The money for these credits will be put into environmental projects such as wind farms. The race, which is based at the Qasr Al Sarab resort in Liwa, started yesterday and will continue until April 6.

Do-it-yourself Harley-Davidson design

Do you ever watch those Biker Build-Off television shows and think you could do a better job? Now Harley-Davidson is offering a chance to show off your creative flair without leaving your home.

No, it's not designing a whole bike, but the American motorcycle brand is holding an online contest for decorating its tanks. You simply download the tank templates from the website, apply your imagination and talent and upload it again to their website, where people can see all the entries and vote for their favourite. If entries garner enough votes to be among the top 50 worldwide, they will go to a panel of judges who will carve those down to a final 10 entries. The public then votes on those and the winner will get to visit the Harley-Davidson factory in Milwaukee, USA, and have their tank painted for real and mounted on their own Sportster motorcycle. Two runners up will have their tanks painted and displayed at the Harley-Davidson museum.

Even if you don't get to the top 50, participants from the Middle East and North Africa will be entered into a regional draw for credit at the local dealerships.

For more information or to download a tank template, visit http://tankwall.harley-davidson.com/site/index?country=ZZ

Volvo latches on to 'Linsanity' with two-year sponsorship deal

Eager to capitalise on the wild popularity of the NBA star Jeremy Lin, Volvo recently announced a two-year marketing deal with the point guard for the New York Knicks.

The Swedish car maker, which is owned by the Chinese company Geely, has hired Lin, who is of Taiwanese descent, to appear in advertisements in both the US and China, where Volvo wants to raise its appeal with a rising younger middle class.

China is Volvo's third-largest market, after the US and Sweden, and the car maker is aiming to sell 200,000 cars there by 2015, up from almost 50,000 it sold there last year, according to Reuters.

Lin, a Harvard graduate born to Taiwanese parents and raised in California, has been a surprise sensation this year for the Knicks, coming off the bench to lead the team while a few of its star players were injured, prompting fans to coin the term "Linsanity".

Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

A supercar for the masses, but don't expect a roomy interior

A Bugatti Veyron costs about Dh6 million, but for just a tiny sliver of that price you can do even better with a supercar that can reach its top speed in less than five seconds.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Well, it's not, but the car we're referring to is a little smaller than a Veyron - in fact, it's only 68cm long and weighs just 4.5kg.

As you may have guessed, the Traxxas XO-1 is a radio-controlled car, but not like any you've ever seen before. It's not for children but for adults with the need for speed, as it can reach 100kph in just 2.3 seconds, with a top speed of 160kph - 20kph faster than Abu Dhabi's motorway speed limit.

The US-made car is battery powered [though it only lasts for 15 minutes before needing a charge] and has a transmitter that reaches beyond your line of sight; thankfully, it also has an on-board video so you can record its speedy journeys. And the price? A mere Dh4,000.

Visit www.traxxas.com for details and a video demonstration.