It's a rare event that a Formula 1 car comes up for sale, let alone one with race winning pedigree. However, wealthy fans of Kimi Raikkonen can rejoice, for the famous Finn's McLaren MP4-17 has just been announced as coming up for auction, as reported by CarBuzz.
Listed by RM Sotheby's, the car in question is the McLaren MP4-17A-06, as raced by Raikkonen in the 2002 Formula 1 World Championship. The -06 chassis actually served as a spare car for the opening three rounds of the season, going on to compete in seven races throughout the year. In its original form, the car's most successful outing was at the Grand Prix De France, with the Finn bringing home second place ahead of team mate David Coulthard.
The chassis was then upgraded to the MP4-17D specification for 2003. Rare in modern Formula 1, the chassis raced in two consecutive years because of McLaren's inability to get the troubled MP4-18 design ready in time for the new season. With David Coulthard behind the wheel in the season opener, the Scot took his 13th and final career victory with the car. The rest of the season saw Kimi pilot this chassis to second places at Suzuka and Imola.
Under the engine cover of the MP4-17 lives a Mercedes-Benz FO110M race engine, with the 3.0-liter V10 putting out a mighty 845 horsepower at a stratospheric 18,500 rpm. It's an elegant engine from a more civilized age, when rev limits were sky high and engines screamed. The car is the product of a design team featuring such big names as Adrian Newey and Peter Prodromou, both of whom penned championship-winning designs at other points of their career.
The car has since been converted back to its MP4-17A configuration as it raced in 2002. It's reported as being complete with its original West livery, however the cigarette brand's logos don't appear visible in the photos on the auction listing. Regardless, the car appears in excellent condition. Wiring, hoses and fittings are all pristine, and there are even handy tags indicating which fluids to use on various parts of the engine and transmission. There's also a nice little book from McLaren featuring photos of the car's achievements during its racing career.
It's a car without quite as much glory attached to others we've seen on the market. But, at the end of the day, it's still a Formula 1 race winner even if it wasn't the ultimate performer during its heyday. It's also a car driven by a former World Champion, albeit in the years before he achieved the title. Raikkonen retains a rabid fanbase to this day, too. The uniquely talented driver is known for his blunt personality, relentless speed, and his hilariously direct messages on team radio. Plenty of fans would love to sit behind the wheel of the car he once raced.
If you want to make the MP4-17 your very own, expect to stump up somewhere between $2.1 to $2.7 million USD for the privilege. It's set to go under the hammer at the RM Sotheby's St. Moritz auction in Switzerland on September 17.
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