Ayrton Senna's F1 car sells for £3.7m at Monaco auction

Ed Wiseman
Bonhams sold Ayrton Senna's final Monaco Grand Prix-winning McLaren at auction on May 11

Ayrton Senna's Monaco Grand Prix-winning Formula One car has been sold at auction at the Bonhams Monaco sale, almost exactly 25 years after he drove it to victory at the  city circuit.

The 1993 McLaren-Ford MP4/8, chassis 6, sold for €4,197,500 after a lengthy and spirited bidding exchange on the Côte d'Azur overlooking Monte Carlo. 

Senna's win in Monaco with this car was his sixth at the famous city circuit. He beat Damon Hill in a Williams-Renault and Jean Alesi in a Ferrari, while Alain Prost – who would win that year's F1 Drivers' Championship – came fourth.

This is despite a crash that injured the Brazilian's thumb on the Thursday and a mechanical problem with the car's active suspension on the Saturday. It was to be Senna's last season with McLaren before a move to Williams - and his shocking death at Imola early in the 1994 season.

The distinctive McLaren-Ford is one of Senna's most iconic cars

"Ayrton Senna was the most charismatic Grand Prix car driver of the modern era," said Mark Osborne, head of motorsport at Bonhams. "And the MP4/8A was the car with which his team, McLaren, surpassed Ferrari as the most successful team in Formula 1 World Championship history."

Senna died less than 12 months after his historic Monaco victory in the McLaren-Ford MP4/8A, when his Williams collided with a barrier during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. He is remembered as one of the most important drivers in the history of motorsport, and the sale at auction of one of his best-known cars is expected to generate considerable interest. 

"This is a truly special car; its ties to Senna and Monaco, and its Grand Prix success, are unique, making this one of the most exciting Formula One cars ever offered at auction," said Osborne.

The most expensive cars ever sold at auction – in pictures

"Any car raced by the legendary Aryton Senna is of huge significance to the motoring world, but this is another matter entirely. It is not only a Grand Prix-winning car, it is the one in which he broke the record for number of wins at Monaco and the final car which he raced for McLaren before joining the Williams team," said Poppy McKenzie Smith, motoring press officer at Bonhams.

"An ex-Senna racing car in full running order is a true rarity, and one which we are thrilled to be offering at the very track where it made history."

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