FIA, RM Sotheby’s auction to benefit COVID relief fund exceeds $1 million

The charity sale held on the Online Only platform offered donated automotive and motorsports items and experiences to benefit medical organization

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A McLaren MP4-24 show car was a high seller at the benefit auction | Photos courtesy of the FIA

The FIA charity auction to benefit international pandemic relief efforts, held on RM Sotheby’s Online Only platform, roared past $1 million for 95 automotive collector items and VIP experiences. 

Many of the auction items, donated to the FIA Foundation by members of the automotive and motorsports communities, sold well above their expected values, with proceeds going to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies global response to COVID-19 in the internet sale organized by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) and RM Sotheby’s. 

The #RaceAgainstCOVID auction, which ended last weekend, achieved a total of 845,472 British pounds ($1,057,984). That will be added to an FIA Foundation donation of €1 million ($1.13 million) that’s being made separately.

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A sculpture of Ayrton Senna donated by the artist was a top sale

 “As we have seen so many times before, sales to benefit fantastic causes also generate incredible generosity,” said Maarten ten Holder, head of RM Sotheby’s in Europe. “In the case of this sale, we have seen overwhelming kindness from all those within the motorsport community who donated the wonderful items and experiences the sale had to offer, and we have also seen the fans, enthusiasts and collectors dig very deep and pay large sums to benefit this remarkable cause.”

Topping the auction was a McLaren MP4-24 show car, donated by McLaren, that sold for £66,000 ($82,280), double its low pre-sale estimate. 

“The car was created for display purposes to promote the 2009 MP4-24 Formula 1 World Championship contender,” RM Sotheby’s said in a news release. “That season, raced by Heikki Kovalainen and reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton, the MP4-24 was taken to third place in the constructors’ championship.”

A 1995 racing suit and helmet worn by F1 champion Damon Hill

Another remarkable piece of racing memorabilia was the sculpture of the late Ayrton Senna in racing posture, a 60 percent scale version of the Eau Rouge bronze by Paul Oz that is on permanent display at the McLaren Technology Centre.  The artwork smashed its pre-sale auction estimate with a £48,000 ($60,000) result.

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“Donated by the artist, it was created in 2019 with approval from Instituto Ayrton Senna and the Senna family and is one of only 41 pieces, representing Ayrton Senna’s 41 victories in Formula 1,” according to the news release.

A wide selection of racing suits and helmets were donated by a number of well-known drivers, with Damon Hill’s 1995 Renault Racing suit and helmet attracting the most spirited bidding.

The racing gear, donated by the former Formula 1 World Champion, was worn by Hill while driving for Williams-Renault during that year’s Australian Grand Prix, the final race of the championship.  It achieved a massive £39,600 ($48,860) against a pre-sale estimate of £5,000 to £7,000 ($6,260 to $8,770).

Another top-performing lot during the auction was the Lamborghini Huracán Performante Development Model, 2016, donated by Lamborghini, which more than doubled its pre-sale estimate at £30,000 ($37,580).

FIA president Jean Todt called the auction results “a substantial achievement.”

The top-10 highest sellers during the FIA charity auction were:

1. McLaren MP4-24 Show Car, 2009, £66,000 ($82,680)

2. Eau Rouge by Paul Oz, 2019, £48,000 ($60,000)

3. Damon Hill Renault Racing Suit and Helmet, 1995, £39,600 ($48,860)

4. ROC car raced by M. Schumacher and S. Vettel in the 2012 Race of Champions, £33,000 ($41,340)

5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG Signed Racing Suit, Gloves, and Boots, £31,200 ($39,084)

6. Charles Leclerc Ferrari Racing Suit, 2019, £30,000 ($37,580)

7. Lamborghini Huracán Performante Development Model, 2016, £30,000 ($37,580)

8. Max Verstappen Signed Racing Suit with Boots and Rear Wing Endplate, £27,600 ($34,574)

9. Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, £27,600 ($34,574)

10. Dark Star by Frank Stella, 2020, £27,000 ($33,823)

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

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