Picture: Tom Gidden via RM Sothebys.

ABU DHABI - Last weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix staged a fascinating side show for those that adore collectable cars. For the first time ever in a Formula One GP, RM Sothebys hosted a car auction featuring some very interesting and exotic machines.

One of these was Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari F1 car from the year 2002, which sold for a total of $6 643 750, which is about R97.2 million at today’s exchange rate. This makes it the second most valuable F1 car ever sold at auction and interestingly enough the most valuable was another of Schumacher’s F1 Ferraris, this one from 2001 having fetched $7.5 million (R110m).

The F2002 Ferrari was the car in which Schumacher secured his fifth F1 title, and his third with Ferrari. Fittingly, a portion of the proceeds from the race car’s sale are set to go to the Schumacher family’s Keep Fighting Foundation, which was set up after his near-fatal skiing accident, from which he has yet to recover.

The F1 Ferrari was one of 40 cars that went under the hammer at RM Sotheby’s Abu Dhabi auction, and surprisingly it wasn’t the most expensive. That honour went to a 2017 Pagani Zonda Aether, which sold for a whopping $6 812 000 (or R99.7m). The Aether is a one-off hypercar featuring a 558kW normally aspirated V12 engine and a six-speed manual transmission.

The auction was staged on the starting grid of the Yas Marina Circuit and, impressively, the organisers set up the whole thing in just one-and-a-half hours, following the evening’s practice laps. 

Total sales amounted to $31.3 million (R458m).

“At Formula One we are all delighted with the success of the auction on Saturday and the dynamic new partnership with RM Sotheby’s,” said F1 commercial operations director Sean Bratches.

“It was a fantastic setting on the grid of the Yas Marina Circuit on the eve of the final grand prix of the year. The atmosphere was electric. It was also a perfect place to showcase and sell such spectacular cars and after so many months of planning it was great to see it all fall into place in such a seamless fashion.”

IOL Motoring