Following many months of planning and preparation, RM Sotheby’s made history by hosting the first-ever international collector car auction held in the United Arab Emirates and the first to take place at an F1® Grand Prix™. Less than 1.5 hours after completion of the evening’s F1 qualifying laps, the starting grid was transformed into the auction room, where collectors, enthusiasts, and F1 fans alike converged to bid on the exceptional selection of 40 blue-chip collector cars comprising iconic sports cars, the most desirable modern hypercars, and victorious Grand Prix racing cars. Bidders hailed from 28 countries, representing one-third of the Middle East region and 40 percent being first-time RM Sotheby’s bidders.
Leading the pack of spectacular cars was the imposing one-off “760”-specification 2017 Pagani Zonda Aether, which is widely regarded as one of the finest supercars to pair a naturally aspirated V-12 to a manual transmission. A lengthy bidding competition ensued, reaching a final $6,812,500 and shattering the previous auction record of $5,885,000 for a Pagani Zonda. The 2002 Ferrari F2002, which claimed three victories in the 2002 season at the skilled hands of Michael Schumacher, sold for a final $6,643,750, making it the most valuable Formula 1® car ever sold at auction, second only to the Schumacher F2001 also sold by RM Sotheby’s in 2017 for $7,500,000. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this legendary Formula 1 car will benefit the Schumacher family’s Keep Fighting Foundation. Also benefitting an important cause, the sensational 2011 Aston Martin One-77 was driven across the block by former F1 racing driver David Coulthard and drew a final $1,440,625, with all proceeds to be donated on behalf of Auction4Wildlife to benefit African Parks by the vehicle’s consignor, Markus Jebsen. A Formula 1 Slot Car Racetrack which had been signed by all of the current Formula 1 drivers in the Yas Marina Circuit Paddock on the Friday night preceding the auction sold for $48,000, with proceeds benefitting the Reach the Last Mile Fund, inspired by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
For the first time at auction, the highly limited 2015 Ferrari FXX K, which was initially only offered to a select few clients, was offered to the public for the first time, and bidding quickly climbed to $4,281,250, setting a new benchmark for the venerable track-only model. Another important piece of Formula 1 history garnered tremendous interest in the Paddock prior to crossing the auction block—the 1982 Ferrari 126 C2, driven to victory by Patrick Tremblay at the 1982 German Grand Prix and a 3rd place podium by Mario Andretti at the Italian Grand Prix, brought a final $2,143,750 and drew applause from the crowd upon the hammer. An iconic 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing featuring the rarely seen optional sport suspension and NSL engine sold for $1,581,250. The unique, one-off 1996 Zagato Raptor built in conjunction for the 1996 Geneva Motor Show as a modern coachbuilt concept car sold for $1,086,250.
In total, RM Sotheby’s Abu Dhabi sale fetched an impressive $31.3 million, reaching thousands of spectators and new collectors. Undoubtedly a success, it was a spectacular way to celebrate the final Grand Prix of the year and to close the 2019 auction year, bringing together both motorsport fans and collectors for an experience that will continue into RM Sotheby’s 2020 auction calendar.