A race-winning Formula 1 McLaren driven by Lewis Hamilton in 2010 will be put up for auction at the British Grand Prix in July as it does laps of the Silverstone circuit.
The Mercedes-powered McLaren MP4-25A will carry a starting price estimate of $5-million and could be sold for as much as $7-million.
Seven-time F1 world champion Hamilton, now at Mercedes, is the sport’s most successful driver of all time with a record 100 pole positions and 98 wins.
The 36-year-old Briton can add to that tally in Monaco this weekend.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to have a piece of his story,” Felix Archer, a car specialist for auctioneers and Formula 1 partners RM Sotheby’s, told Reuters at a viewing on Tuesday. “It’s the first time a Lewis Hamilton race winner has ever been publicly offered.”
The car, being sold by an unnamed private collector but not Hamilton or McLaren, won the Turkish Grand Prix after the Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel collided while leading one-two.
Hamilton drove it in four races that year, 2009 F1 world champion teammate Jenson Button in five and it achieved three podium finishes and a fastest lap.
“This is from an era where the engines were still screaming V8s and it will be driven around the track in anger,” said Archer.
“It will appeal to someone who either wants it as a collector’s item or literally wants to drive and sit where Lewis and Jenson sat and thrash it around the track.
“If someone was willing to pay over a million quid (pounds) for Kanye West’s trainers, I think there’s someone out there for a Lewis Hamilton Formula One car. It’s a true piece of art, a piece of history.”
McLaren Heritage will run the car for the buyer, with around eight people and several days’ preparation needed to operate it. The original Bridgestone tyres have been replaced with Avon rubber.
Archer said the valuation put it in the realms of cars driven by Germany’s seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher and the late Brazilian Ayrton Senna.
A 2002 Ferrari F1 car raced by Schumacher was sold for $6.65 million in Abu Dhabi in 2019.
“This very special event will see us actually auction an F1 car, while it is being driven around an F1 circuit,” said Kate Beavan, Formula 1’s director of hospitality. “It is an incredible stage upon which to sell this iconic car.”
The driver has yet to be named but it will not be anyone from within the F1 paddock due to COVID-19 precautions requiring them to operate in a ‘bubble’.