Schumacher's history-making Jordan 191 on sale for £1.25m

F1

Michael Schumacher's Jordan 191, which he used to stun the F1 world on his debut race weekend, is on sale for £1.25m

Jordan 191 Michael Schumacher

This Jordan 191 is the very chassis – no6 – with which Michael Schumacher made the world sit up and take notice

Speedmaster Cars

The Jordan 191 which Michael Schumacher used to announce himself to the world is now up for sale.

Chassis no 6, which the seven-time Formula 1 world champion used to outpace his vastly more experienced team-mate Andrea de Cesaris in his very first practice at Spa-Francorchamps in 1991, could now be yours – for £1.25m.

Historic car dealer Speedmaster Cars are selling the car, with its owner James Hanson saying: “This car boggles the mind.”

After Bertrand Gachot notoriously found himself in jail after an altercation with a London taxi driver, Jordan was left one driver down for the ’91 Belgian GP.

Mercedes proffered a young Schumacher (with payment of course) to the Silverstone team, and the then-sportscar driver immediately found himself at home in the emerald green pocket rocket.

Schumacher Foster Jordan 1991

Schumacher with team manager Trevor Foster pre-race in Belgium

Grand Prix Photo

Speaking to Motor Sport about the 191 last year, both team boss Eddie Jordan and shakedown driver John Watson illuminated what made the car so pliable.

“It was just so easy to drive,” Jordan said. “Easy to drive, very beautiful and quick straight away – often a good sign!”

“You can tell within about two feet of leaving the pitlane, whether a car is friendly or unfriendly,” agreed Watson. “There’s just an inherent message that you pick up through your body, your hands, your feet. That car gave you what you needed.”

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The Jordan team took three cars (chassis nos4, 5 and 6) to Spa. Schumacher had never driven the 191 before, but it mattered not.

Using car no5, he immediately went faster than De Cesaris. The Italian suspected something must have been wrong, and therefore changed from no6 to no4, which was the spare.

The young German took over De Cesaris’ rejected no6, to set the eighth fastest time for FP1. The more experienced driver couldn’t better his young team-mate’s time. Schumacher had arrived.

The same happened in qualifying, with the Kerpen kid going seventh fastest, while De Cesaris — now back in car no6 — set a time good enough only for 11th.

“Schumacher’s uninhibited performance was one of the highlights of the two days of practice and qualifying,” Denis Jenkinson wrote in Motor Sport, already referring to Schumacher as the ‘wonder-boy’. “His eighth place in the qualifying times (promoted to seventh later) was the sort of thing that made one sit up and take notice and personally prompted me to journey out to the far end of the circuit to get an idea of how it was achieved.

“It wants to be driven fast, it’s involving to drive”

“Here was a man making the car do what he wanted, when he wanted it, not hanging on to see what the car wanted to do, and this was on a 120mph blind downhill left-hander.”

Schumacher’s first race race lasted two corners after clutch failure, but the point had been made. He was soon off to Benetton and headed for F1 stardom.

De Cesaris was having more like with the no6 car and almost scored a famous debut win for the Silverstone squad.

He was closing down Ayrton Senna for the lead when his engine blew with three laps to go.

Seller Hanson tested chassis no6 himself at Donington recently, and emphasised how it’s one of the peak examples of F1 ’90s performance.

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“Any F1 machine from this period or little later is just so fast,” he said. “It has so much grip, everything about this car just boggles the mind.

“The car is so pure – you turn the steering wheel and it goes where you want it to go, you brake and it stops.

“It wants to be driven fast, it’s involving to drive.”

Hanson reiterated what those involved had to say about the iconic 191 – a pliant 200mph racing tool.

“It doesn’t feel like it’s going to have any moments,” he commented. “Some F1 cars feel like they’re on a knife-edge, they’re not that well balanced.

“The 191 has loads of downforce, loads of grip, it doesn’t do anything untoward. It feels like it’s going look after you.”

Jordan 191 chassis no6 is currently on sale at Speedmaster Cars.