Toyota's Last Formula 1 Car Will Be Auctioned for Charity
And we know one of you will buy it purely out of the goodness of your heart—not to show off at your local track. Right?
Though the COVID-19 infection curve may be on a downward trajectory in some parts of the world, the toll it's taken on public health—and within motor racing—is still being felt throughout. Perhaps that's why the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies will be the beneficiaries of RM Sotheby's #RaceAgainstCovid charity auction, which will involve the sale of valuable racing memorabilia and complete race cars, such as one of Toyota's final Formula 1 cars: TF109 chassis 01.
Built for the 2009 season, the Toyota TF109 wound up being the last car Toyota entered in F1. The racing program's high cost and years of underwhelming results, however, soured corporate's view of its F1 team, so when the 2008 financial crisis hit, management had its reason to pull the plug. As a result, the TF109 ended up singing Toyota F1's swan song, though it wasn't entirely a sad song, because the TF109 finished on the podium five times in 17 Grands Prix.
Those podium-earning cars, however, will not be the ones crossing the auction block later this month. Toyota has instead donated TF109 chassis 01, which 2004 Monaco Grand Prix winner Jarno Trulli and his teammate Timo Glock drove during in-season tests throughout 2009. Following Toyota's departure from F1, the team lent it to Pirelli to serve as a tire test car for 2010 and 2011, during which time TF109-01 is said to have covered well over 18,000 miles in the hands of drivers such as Nick Heidfeld, Pedro de la Rosa, Lucas di Grassi, and Romain Grosjean.
Today, TF109-01 still wears the colors of its former life with Pirelli, though mechanically, it remains 100% Toyota with a 2.4-liter, 700-plus-horsepower V8, and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. These will be sold with the car, bids for which open on Monday, June 15, and close some time Monday, June 22. One can't help hoping that this Toyota's new owner returns it to track duty. After all, there are lap records that need breaking.
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