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.
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.