Tambay & Andretti's 1982 F1 grand prix-winning Ferrari up for auction

by Dominic Tobin on 14th November 2019

Patrick Tambay won the 1982 German Grand Prix at the wheel of this Ferrari 126 C2; now it's up for auction with an estimate of up to £1.9m

Front view of the 1982 German Grand Prix-winning Ferrari 126 C2

Photo: Sami Sasso/RM Auctions

The only remaining car from Ferrari’s tragic 1982 Formula 1 season will be auctioned at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix later this month.

This particular Ferrari 126 C2 won the German Grand Prix at the hands of Patrick Tambay and was then raced by Mario Andretti in his final Grand Prix at the age of 42.

Developed by Harvey Postlethwaite from the previous year’s 126 CK, the V6 turbo-powered car was more stable and predictable, giving drivers Gilles Villeneuve and Didier Pironi a real shot at the championship.

It’s due to be sold by RM Sotheby’s on November 30, with an estimate of $2m to $2.5m (£1.5m to £1.9m). The auctioneers say that chassis number 061 is the only surviving 126 C2 of seven produced.

Rear view of the Ferrari 126 C2 that Patrick Tambay and Mario Andretti drove in the 1982 F1 World Championship

Photo: Sami Sasso/RM Auctions

The car was competitive enough to win the 1982 constructors’ title, and would surely have delivered a drivers’ championship, but for a dark three months in Ferrari’s history.

Villeneuve and Pironi had demonstrated the car’s potential from the start of the season, even though results didn't initially come, due to breakdowns, mishaps and disqualification due to an illegal rear wing.

At Imola, the pace of the 126 C2 shone as Ferrari scored a 1-2 result but it was a race of well-known controversy as Pironi forced his way past Villeneuve on the final lap after both drivers had received the SLOW instruction on their pit boards.

A furious Villeneuve would not start the next race; killed during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder.

Three months later, after claiming pole position for the German Grand Prix, Pironi hit Alain Prost in a wet practice session, suffering injuries that would end his career.

It was this race that Tambay, who had been drafted in to replace Villeneuve, went on to win at the wheel of chassis 061, moving up from fourth on the grid and taking advantage of a collision involving race-leader Nelson Piquet to win.


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Patrick Tambay at the wheel of the Ferrari 126 C2 during the 1982 German Grand Prix which he went on to win

Tambay at the 1982 German GP Photo: Motorsport Images

Tambay had previously raced the car to third place in the earlier British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch, and finished fourth with it at the French Grand Prix.

After that season’s German and Austrian grands prix, the car was passed to Andretti, who had been drafted in to replace Pironi. The 42 year-old used it to claim pole position in Monza at Ferrari’s home Italian Grand Prix.

He finished third, despite a sticking throttle, scoring his last championship points in Formula 1.

Andretti used the car for the final race of the season, in Las Vegas, but retired from the race with suspension failure - and F1 for good.

Cockpit of the 1982 F1 Ferrari 126 C2

Photo: Sami Sasso/RM Auctions

Ferrari’s 74 constructors’ points were enough to win the championship, while Pironi finished second in the drivers’ title race, with 39 points to Keke Rosberg’s 44, despite missing five races.

Chassis 061 was sold into private hands in 2000 and has passed between collectors. It has also been used on track at Ferrari’s exclusive Corse Clienti events.

The auction will take place at the Yas Marina Circuit, ahead of the following day's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
 

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