Until now. On the Saturday of the British Grand Prix weekend, just before the inaugural Sprint Qualifying Race, a McLaren-Mercedes MP4-25 will be sold as a one lot auction by RM Sotheby’s. What’s more the soundtrack to the auction will be provided live by the 2.4-litre, 800bhp V8 engine at 18,000rpm as the car is hurled around Silverstone by some presumably extremely trusted McLaren driver. My understanding is that the vendor is not McLaren but an individual who acquired the car some time ago. And this car, the first MP25 chassis, is a genuine race winner too, taking Lewis to victory in the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix.
The Paddy Lowe and Tim Goss designed MP4-25 was also the first McLaren of the era designed independently of Mercedes-Benz, as following the latter’s purchase of Brawn GP, McLaren had been demoted to the role of customer team. But it was still a successful car, successful in terms the modern McLaren would simply love to have today. Jenson Button took its first wins in Australia and China which Lewis followed with back to back victories in Turkey and Canada with a final win at Spa. It was enough to keep the Constructors Title alive until the very last race of the season, scoring 454 points to Red Bull’s 498.
So how much is a car such as this likely to fetch? I think it is almost impossible to say. In a market where supply is one and demand unknown almost anything could happen. If there’s only one bidder it could fail to meet its reserve, but if two wealthy private individuals get into a bidding war and neither wishes to back down, who knows how far it could go?