New York - Michael Schumacher's 2001 championship-winning Ferrari sold for a record $7.5 million (R105 million) at an auction here last week.
The car, chassis number 211, was actually only raced three times by Schumacher that year, winning two of the Grands Prix it entered including Monaco. But because it crossed the line first at the Hungarian round, handing Schumacher his fourth of seven Formula One world championships, the F2001-codenamed Ferrari came with provenance to attract some seriously wealthy collectors.
The car isn’t for display purposes only. Described as “usable art,” the car is in full working condition. As part of Ferrari’s Corse Clienti program, the new owner will be able to drive it on race tracks around the world and be tutored by Ferrari’s own F1 technicians, mechanics, and test drivers.
Pre-auction estimates had the three-litre V10-powered "droopsnoot" (as it was nicknamed) valued around $4-million, but it pranced right past that mark with eight bidders pushing the price up by nearly double. The $7.504-million sale price makes this the most expensive modern era F1 car ever sold, beating the previous record holder: Schumacher's F2004 which sold for $3 198 500 (R45-million) at an auction in 2005.
Interestingly, RM Sotheby's chose to sell the car at a Contemporary Art auction where works from Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein also crossed the block, rather than an automotive event as per usual with rare machinery. A portion of the sale will be donated by the previous owner to Michael Schumacher's Keep Fighting Foundation.
Little is known about the Schumacher's condition since he sustained serious head injuries in a skiing accident in 2013. The most successful driver in F1's history is currently recovering at his home in Switzerland.