A couple of months ago, we brought you news of a very special F1 car coming up for auction. What we didn’t have at the time were photos of the racer, or much idea of how much it might be worth. But now we have both.
The McLaren MP4/8A is the sixth such chassis made. It’s very one in which the legendary Ayrton Senna won the 1993 Monaco Grand Prix. That was the last of the record six times he won the iconic race.
It was also one of five grand prix victories he took in that, his last season with the team. The next year, he switched to Williams in an ill-fated move that would claim his life.
Powered by a Ford/Cosworth V8, the MP4/8A was more simply known as the MP4/8 before the modified 8B was developed. But that model was used as a test-bed for a Lamborghini V12 engine, and was never raced. The MP4/9 that followed the next season packed a Peugeot V10 that served as a stop-gap for one year. The next season, McLaren embarked on its long relationship with Mercedes.
Resplendent in timeless Marlboro livery, Senna’s last McLaren will hit the auction block in Monaco next month. Bonhams (which will handle its sale) won’t say exactly how much it thinks it will sell for, but it tells us the sale price will be “in excess of five million euros.” That’d be about $6.2 million at current exchange rates. But we have every reason to believe it will fetch far more than that. Especially with all the hype surrounding the new road-going, track-focused McLaren Senna supercar.
The current record, in case you’re wondering, for a grand prix racer sold at auction was set by a 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 that Bonhams sold for $30 million at Goodwood in 2013. The highest price paid at auction for a modern F1 car is the $7.5 million that Sotheby’s sold Schumacher’s Ferrari F2001 for in New York last year. And we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see this one beat that record.
What’s more is that this won’t be the only piece of Senna’s history from Monaco coming up for sale in Monte Carlo next month. The same auctioneer will also be selling off the Toleman-Hart TG184 in which Ayrton first contested the famous race (to a controversial near-miss).
And rival auction house RM Sotheby’s will be selling off the suit that he wore in the race in 1987. The bottom line is that the glamorous Mediterranean enclave will be the place to be for fans of the late, great Brazilian driver. That is, those with the wherewithal to acquire a piece of the action.