Ayrton Senna's Final Monaco-Winning McLaren Sold For $5 Million

The McLaren MP4/8A with which Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna won his final Monaco Grand Prix landed on the auction block, and bidding took off.

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The 1993 Monaco Grand Prix was Ayrton Senna's sixth and final victory in Monte Carlo, and one that came as a surprise. Senna qualified only third, his McLaren MP4/8A falling behind Alain Prost's faster Williams-Renault and Michael Schumacher's Benetton-Ford. When it came time for the race to start, Prost jumped the gun and was handed a stop-and-go penalty, which ended in a disastrous engine stall. Schumacher, now leading, succumbed to a hydraulic failure on lap 32, bequeathing the race lead and eventual win to Senna. This win would be his third-to-last Grand Prix win before his tragic death early in the 1994 season.

The MP4/8A which Senna captained to victory fell into a private collector's hands in 2006, courtesy of McLaren's then-CEO Ron Dennis. At the time, this was a rare exception to the rule that McLaren would not sell its Marlboro (MP4 prefix) sponsorship-era cars to private owners.

Said collector held on to the car for more than a decade before offloading it with the aid of historic auction house Bonhams at a sale in Monaco on Friday. The McLaren was the most hotly contested lot of the entire auction, and sold for more than the next three highest lots combined. €4,197,500 was the winning bid, which is around $5,020,000 USD. One of Senna's other Monaco Grand Prix entries, the Toleman TG184, with which he established himself as an ace in a stunning near-win in the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix, also appeared at the Bonhams auction. It surged past its estimated sale price and was won with a bid of €1,610,000, or about $1,925,000 USD.

Should its new owner put the car to use, rather than on a plinth, they will need to be careful not to wreck it—as sometimes happens with millionaires and Formula 1 cars.