2018 Bonhams Monaco Sale (Senna McLaren Announcement)

Bonhams will offer the 1993 McLaren-Ford MP4/8A Formula 1 racing car that Ayrton Senna drove to his record sixth victory at the Monaco Grand Prix at the Grandes Marques à Monaco sale.

1993 McLaren in Monaco
GP Library / Courtesy of Bonhams

A highlight of the Bonhams Les Grandes Marques à Monaco sale in May 2018 will be Ayrton Senna’s 1993 McLaren-Ford MP4/8A Formula 1 racing car. Senna drove this chassis in eight Grand Prix races in 1993 but none more famous than his record sixth victory at the Monaco Grand Prix. Appropriately, Bonhams is offering this McLaren during the Monaco historic grand prix racing weekend 25 years after Senna’s victory at this most glamorous of Formula 1 Grand Prix racing circuits.

Bonhams Les Grandes Marques à Monaco 2018

Bonhams Les Grandes Marques à Monaco classic car sales are held every second year during the historic grand prix racing weekend. In 2018, the Bonhams sale will take place on May 11 in Monte Carlo.

At the Bonhams Monaco 2016 sale the top result was €7,245,000 for a 1953 Jaguar XK120C ‘C-Type’ Sport-racing Two Seater Roadster. The more surprising result was €1,059,000 paid for the 1991-92 Benetton Ford Formula 1 car that Nelson Piquet drove his final race in and Michael Schumacher drove to his first ever podium finish. The estimate was only €220,000 – €280,000.

1993 McLaren-Ford MP4/8A Formula 1 Racing Single-Seater

The ex-Ayrton Senna, record-setting, final Monaco Grand Prix-winning, 1993 McLaren-Ford MP4/8A Formula 1 racing single-seater is to be offered at Bonhams Monaco 2018. No estimate has been announced.

This startlingly well-preserved, running-order Formula 1 car won the 1993 Monaco Grand Prix – 25 years ago – in the hands of the legendary Ayrton Senna. The Brazilian three-time Formula 1 World Champion Driver, rated by many as the greatest of all time, won a record six editions of the prestigious round-the-houses Monaco Grand Prix.

The 1993 season was Senna’s last with McLaren. The great team had just ended its long and successful partnership with Honda for engine supply, and would link up with Peugeot in a new Formula 1 racing partnership from 1994. For the interim 1993 season, a last-minute agreement had been struck with Ford to run their Cosworth-built ‘HB’ V8 engines on loan. Ayrton Senna was initially skeptical that these compact Ford V8 engines would be able to compete with the dominant Renault V10s as deployed by the Williams team, led by the Brazilian’s former team-mate and deadly rival Alain Prost.

Senna consented to remain with McLaren on a race-by-race basis, in return for a rumored $1-million fee for every start. However, the team’s latest McLaren-Ford MP4/8A model – like chassis ‘6’ now being offered by Bonhams – demonstrated such technological and mechanical sophistication that by season’s end, it was one of the most competitive of all contemporary Grand Prix car designs.

Ayrton Senna drove this actual car – McLaren-Ford MP4/8 chassis number ‘6’ – in no fewer than eight of the 1993 season’s Formula 1 World Championship-qualifying Grand Prix races. In his debut with the brand new car at Barcelona’s Spanish Grand Prix he immediately finished 2nd overall, headed only by Alain Prost’s Williams-Renault.

For the following Monaco Grand Prix, he experienced an apparent problem with the car’s ultra-modern ‘active’ suspension system which sparked a violent crash into the barriers at Ste Devote corner.

The incident unfolded so suddenly that even Senna was unable to let go of the steering wheel in time, and the impact painfully injured his thumb. Chassis ‘6’ was then repaired in time for Saturday running, and he qualified third fastest behind Prost’s Williams-Renault on pole and Michael Schumacher’s Benetton-Ford second. Prost then jumped the start, incurring a 10-second stop-go penalty, to be served in the pit lane. Schumacher then led the race from Senna until lap 33, when the Benetton-Ford retired with hydraulic failure. Senna promptly took control of the great race, 15 seconds ahead of Damon Hill’s Williams-Renault. As the great Brazilian took the Monaco chequered flag for his sixth time, he broke Graham Hill’s record for the most Monaco GP victories, set back in 1969.

This McLaren MP4/8A was raced again by Senna in that year’s Canadian, French, British, German, Belgian and Italian GPs, finishing 4th at Magny-Cours (France), Hockenheim (Germany) and Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium). At Silverstone in the British GP, Senna looked set to finish 3rd, only to run out of fuel in the closing stages – being classified 5th. Chassis ‘6’s frontline career was then completed as spare car at both the 1993 Japanese and Australian Grands Prix.

Mark Osborne, Bonhams Global Head of Motorsport, commented: ‘Ayrton Senna was the most charismatic Grand Prix car driver of the modern era, 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. This particular chassis, number 6, cemented Senna’s legend as The Master of Monaco. We at Bonhams are both honoured and thrilled to be presenting one of the most significant Grand Prix cars of all time. It is his Monaco winner, it is a runner, and now it could be yours.’

Formula 1 And Le Mans Winning Cars at Auction

2001 Ferrari F1 Sold at Sotheby's
© Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Monaco-winning Formula 1 racing cars rarely make it to public auction. However, in 2017, RM Sotheby’s sold the 2001 Ferrari F2001 that Michael Schumacher drove to his fifth and final Monaco GP victory for $7,504,000. Remarkably, the car was sold in a Sotheby’s Contemporary Art sales in New York rather than a traditional car auction. The result was a record for a modern Formula 1 car and well in excess of RM Sotheby’s pre-sale estimate of $4,000,000 to $5,500,000.

1954 Mercedes Benz W196 Formula 1 Racing Car
1954 Mercedes Benz W196 Formula 1 Racer © Bohnams

The highest price ever paid for a Formula 1 single-seater racing car was $29,650,000 for a 1954 Mercedes Benz W196R at the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed 2013 sale. At the time the result nearly doubled the world record price for a car at auction. This Mercedes is still the third most-expensive car on record and most-expensive German car ever.

1955 Jaguar D-Type, chassis XKD501
Patrick Ernzen © 2016 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Le Mans-winning cars are more frequent at auction. The 1983 Le Mans winner – a 1982 Porsche 956 sold for $10,120,000 at the Gooding Pebble Beach 2015 sale. The record for a Le Mans winner is held by the 1956 winner – a 1955 Jaguar D-Type that sold for $21,780,000 at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2016 sale.

The last Ferrari to have won Le Mans as an official works entry – the 1964 Le Mans-winning 1963 Ferrari 275 P will be offered for sale at the Artcurial Rétromobile sale in Paris in February 2018. (Note: The Ferrari was withdrawn from the sale two weeks before the auction due to ongoing legal issues related to estate of the owner.)

Monaco Historic Grand Prix Week Classic Car Auctions

Auction Results

1993 McLaren-Cosworth Ford MP4
© Bonhams

Auction Previews:

Pre-Sale Announcements:

1993 McLaren in Monaco
GP Library / Courtesy of Bonhams


RM Sotheby’s:

Fun tours and adventures to do in the Monaco region: