Le Mans racing cars, including a Rothmans Porsche 962 factory team racer, are on sale in the RM Sotheby’s 2023 auction during the 100th anniversary of the 24-Hours race in France.
A select auction of cars raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans races are on sale in the RM Sotheby’s Le Mans classic car auction during the weekend of the 100th-anniversary race in France. The leading car is a 1985 Porsche 962C raced by the works Porsche Rothmans team followed by a 1955 Ferrari 121 LM Spider by Scaglietti from the official factory Scuderia Ferrari team. Further cars with Le Mans participation include a 1969 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Competizione, several classic and modern Jaguars and Aston Martins, and a 1990 Nissan R90CK — the first Japanese car to claim pole position at Le Mans.
RM Sotheby’s Le Mans 2023 Sale
RM Sotheby’s special Le Mans 2023 classic car auction is scheduled for 10 June 2023 in Le Mans, France, during the 100th anniversary weekend of the world’s most famous 24-hours motorcar endurance race. Rather than the standard hours-long auctions, this RM Sotheby’s sale will feature only 24 lots with all 22 cars on offer either former Le Mans participants or having very strong links to the race.
Top Lots on Offer at the RM Sotheby’s Le Mans 2023 Auction
The 15 most-expensive cars on offer in the RM Sotheby’s Le Mans 2023 classic car auction are:
|1||1985||Porsche 962||6,000,000 – 8,000,000|
|2||1955||Ferrari 121 LM Spider by Scaglietti||5,500,000 – 6,500,000|
|3||1969||Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Competizione||4,800,000 – 5,200,000|
|4||1991||Jaguar XJR-12 LM||2,500,000 – 3,000,000|
|5||1984||Lancia LC2||2,200,000 – 4,400,000|
|6||2007||Aston Martin DBR9 GT1||2,100,000 – 2,500,000|
|7||1993||Jaguar XJ220 C LM||1,600,000 – 2,200,000|
|8||1936||Delahaye 135 S by Partout||1,300,000 – 2,000,000|
|9||1958||Lister-Jaguar “Knobbly”||1,450,000 – 1,800,000|
|10||1954||OSCA MT4 by Morelli||1,300,000 – 1,500,000|
|11||1967||Alpine A210||1,200,000 – 1,500,000|
|12||2008||Saleen S7-R||1,200,000 – 1,500,000|
|13||1990||Nissan R90CK||1,000,000 – 1,500,000|
|14||1932||Aston Martin Le Mans LM8||950,000 – 1,350,000|
|15||2006||Ferrari F430 GTC||750,000 – 1,000,000|
1985 Porsche 962C
In the history of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, there are few contenders that represent the pinnacle of endurance sports car development and dominance in quite the way the Porsche 962 does. Fearsomely fast, incredibly reliable, and driven by many of the greatest names in the sport, it is a car that can truly carry the label of ‘icon’ like few others.
The 1985 Porsche 962C, chassis 004, (Estimate: €6,000,000 – €9,000,000), was one of six 962s assigned to the Rothmans-backed factory team and debuted at the 1985 24 Hours of Le Mans with John Watson, Al Holbert, and Vern Schuppen, who ran in 2nd place for 12 hours until a rare engine failure ended its race in the 21st hour. It was then used by Jacky Ickx and Jochen Mass in three World Sportscar Championship rounds. For the 1986 24 Hours of Le Mans, it was raced by racing legends Bob Wollek, Jochen Mass, and Vern Schuppan, where it qualified in pole position; it battled for the lead but retired in 3rd place. It would feature in three other rounds of the World Sportscar Championship in 1986 and then went on to be run by the Works-supported racing team Joest Racing in 1987.
Its formidable race history also includes a 2nd at the 1987 Nürburgring 1,000 km at the hands of Derek Bell and Hans Stuck, and a 5th at Le Mans in 1988 with Joest Racing. This chassis has been driven by nearly all of the factory Porsche drivers of the era, including eight Le Mans winners. With the other ex-works 962s sitting either in Porsche’s own historic collection or in very long-term ownership, the chances to acquire one are few and far between. This example is remarkably the first time a Works-campaigned Porsche 962 has ever been offered for sale at auction, meaning this is truly an unmissable opportunity for any motorsport fanatic.
The difference in price between a Works-campaigned Porsche 962 and a regular customer 962 is quite wide. At least 9 customer 962 cars have sold for over a million dollars since 2015 but only one achieved above $2 million.
The Porsche marque record is $14,080,000 paid for the 1970 Porsche 917K, chassis 917-024, at Gooding Pebble Beach 2017. This 917K was a testing vehicle for Porsche and had a very limited in-period racing history. Porsche sold it to Swiss driver Jo Siffert who leased the car to Steve McQueen’s Solar Productions for use in the making of the film Le Mans (1971). The only other Porsche to achieve about $10 million was the 1983 Le Mans 24 Hours winning 1982 Porsche 956 in Rothmans livery that Gooding sold for $10,120,000 at the 2015 Pebble Beach sale.
Ferraris at the RM Sotheby’s Le Mans Auction 2023
The 1955 Ferrari 121 LM Spider by Scaglietti, estimate €5,500,000 – €6,500,000, was a Scuderia Ferrari works car driven at the 1955 Le Mans and Mille Miglia (Taruffi) races but DNF in both races. The Ferrari had more success at subsequent races in North America when driven by McAfee. It is one of only four surviving 121 LMs.
The 1969 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Competizione, estimate €4,800,000 – €5,200,000, was retained by the factory for development purposes. It was eventually converted to full Competizione specification by the North American Racing Team. It finished the 1971 Le Mans race 5th overall but won the Index of Thermal Efficiency.
The 2006 Ferrari F430 GTC, estimate €750,000 – €1,000,000, finished 2nd-in-class at the 2007 24 Hours of Le Mans and 3rd in class at the 2008 12 Hours of Sebring. The F430 GTC was extensively raced and had eight podium finishes across 28 races with Risi Competizione from 2006 to 2008.
British Cars at RM Sotheby’s Le Mans Sale 2023
The most-expensive Le Mans winner ever sold at auction was the 1956 Le Mans-winning 1955 Jaguar D-Type, which achieved $21,780,000 at RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2016. The British Le Mans cars on offer at the 2023 Le Mans Sale had less illustrious results but all with their own interesting stories.
For a race that boasts a 100-year history, the pre-war period is an important era for Le Mans, featuring a hugely diverse selection of sports car makers all vying for glory. The RM Sotheby’s Le Mans 2023 sale will feature It is therefore exciting that the sale will feature two 1930s cars: a 1932 Aston Martin Le Mans LM8 and a 1936 Delahaye 135 S by Pourtout.
The ex-Works 1932 Aston Martin Le Mans ‘LM8’, estimate €950,000 – €1,350,000, was the winner of the 8th Biennial Cup and finished 7th overall at the 1932 24 Hours of Le Mans and is one of the three “second series” Aston Martin Works entrants to race at Le Mans. Boasting well-documented history, with its previous owner retaining the car for over 60 years from 1955.
The 2007 Aston Martin DBR9 GT1, (Estimate €2,100,000 – €2,500,000), built by the highly regarded Prodrive team, has an illustrious competition CV that includes 3rd in the GT1 class and 22nd overall at the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans. Following this, the car went on to secure four podium finishes in the 2011 FIA GT1 World Championship, winning in Beijing. This is yet another fine example that is perfectly suited to the now broad offering of endurance racing series, from the Peter Auto Endurance Racing Legends all the way to the Classic 24 Hour at Daytona.
Jaguar has had an outstanding record in endurance racing and its place in Le Mans history is unquestionable. The 1991 Jaguar XJR-12 LM, (Estimate: €2,500,000 – €3,000,000) is in its period-correct Silk Cut Jaguar two-tone purple livery and has some incredible competition success to its name. This includes a 4th overall at the 1991 24 Hours of Le Mans, driven by Derek Warwick, John Nielsen, and Andy Wallace, in addition to a class win (2nd overall) at the 1992 edition of the 24 Hours of Daytona and a further 4th overall at the 1992 12 Hours of Sebring. Chassis 891’s raced in many historic events, notably at Le Mans Classic in 2018, where it clocked the fastest lap and combined qualifying time in the Group C category.
Another important part of Jaguar’s Le Mans history from the same era is the 1993 Jaguar XJ220 C LM, (Estimate: €1,600,000 – €2,200,000 EUR), a TWR development of the XJ220 road cars, which was briefly rated as the world’s fastest road legal machine. This is an astonishingly rare example, with this being only one of a mere four bespoke XJ220 C chassis constructed. Driven by David Brabham, John Nielsen, and future Formula 1 star David Coulthard at Le Mans in 1993, it proved to be Jaguar’s final Le Mans “win”, topping the GT class at the 1993 24 Hours of Le Mans and finishing 15th overall. Unfortunately, it was disqualified on the basis of it not being fitted with catalytic convertors—the appeal was supported by the FIA but not in time to reinstate the class win.
The 1958 Lister-Jaguar Knobbly, chassis HBL105, estimate €1,450,000-€1,800,000) is the only Knobbly to ever have raced at Le Mans. However, it failed to finish in 1958 while and failed to make it to the 1958 race, after an accident at an earlier race in Finland.
Other Million-Dollar Le Mans Cars on Sale
Further cars with Le Mans racing history on offer in the RM Sotheby’s Le Mans 2023 classic car auction expecting to sell for over a million dollars include:
- 1984 Lancia LC2 — pole position and fastest lap at the 1984 24 Hours of Le Mans, eventually finishing 8th overall and 7th overall a year later.
- 1936 Delahaye 135 S by Partout — finished Le Mans 2nd overall in 1938.
- 1954 OSCA MT4 by Morelli — one of two factory entries in 1954 but disqualified following spectator assistance after an accident.
- 1967 Alpine A210 — Three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans starter from 1967 to 1969; 1967 and 1968 class-winner.
- 2008 Saleen S7-R — Winner of the LMGT1 class at the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans, finishing 13th overall.
- 1990 Nissan R90CK — Mark Blundell’s 1990 24 Hours of Le Mans pole-setting car; one of the most acclaimed pole positions in the history of the race.