This Stunning Collection of Le Mans Racers, Ferraris Included, Is Worth $40 Million

RM Sotheby's Le Mans auction 25 photos
Photo: RM Sotheby's
1965 24 Hours of Le Mans starter flagJacky Ickx Rothmans Porsche Race Suit1983 Rondeau M4821996 Chrysler Viper GTS-R1990 Nissan R90CK2000 Porsche 911 GT3 R1963 Ferrari 250 GTE 2+22006 Ferrari F430 GTC2007 Aston Martin DBR9 GT11993 Jaguar XJ220 C LM1967 Alpine A2101993 Venturi 600 S-LM1954 OSCA MT42008 Saleen S7-R1985 Porsche 9622005 Spyker C8 GT2-R1958 Lister-Jaguar "Knobbly"1936 Delahaye 135 S1984 Lancia LC21991 Jaguar XJR-12 LM1932 Aston Martin LM81969 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Competizione1955 Ferrari 121 LM SpiderPorsche 919 show car
The 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world's oldest active endurance racing event, turns 100 in 2023. The event will be marked with various festivities, including a special auction with no fewer than 21 cars raced at Circuit de la Sarthe throughout the decades. And most of them are iconic racers that are worth millions of dollars.
Set to go under the hammer via RM Sotheby's on June 9, 2023, the collection also includes automobiles built by the world's greatest carmakers. I'm talking about a handful of Ferraris, a trio of Porsches, as well as Jaguars and Aston Martins. Based on estimated values, the auction's highlight is a 1985 Porsche 962.

Finished in the famous Rothmans livery, it's one of only three works cars raced during the 1985 and 1986 endurance world championships. It's not a Le Mans winner, but it ran there three times and took the pole position in 1986. It's also one of the most raced factory 962s, having been campaigned by Joest Racing following its retirement as a factory car. Fully restored and in running condition, it's estimated to fetch between €6 and €9 million ($6.4 to $9.6 million as of May 2023).

Next in line in terms of rarity and market value is a 1955 Ferrari 121 LM Spider. Raced by the Scuderia at the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans and Mille Miglia, it's one of only four surviving 121 LMs built. Ferrari Classiche certified and still sporting its numbers-matching drivetrain, the Scaglietti-design race car is expected to change hands for €5.5 to €6.5 million ($5.9 to $7 million).

The 121 LM is not the only million-dollar classic included in the auction. The list also shows a 1969 365 GTB/4 Daytona Competizione. This one's actually a prototype that Ferrari retained at the factory development from 1969 to 1971. The car was eventually raced at Le Mans in 1971, finishing fifth overall and winning the Index of Thermal Efficiency. The car was also raced at Daytona and Sebring. Not surprisingly, it's estimated to fetch at least €4.8 million ($5.15 million).

The list of iconic cars set to go under the hammer includes a 1996 Chrysler Viper GTS-R (€600,000 / $643,790), a 1967 Alpine A210 (€1.2 / $1.3 million), a 2008 Saleen S7-R (€1.2 million), a 1991 Jaguar XJR-12 LM (€2.5 / $2.7 million), and a 1932 Aston Martin LM8 (€950,000 / $1 million).

But some gems aren't quite as famous despite being sought-after among diehard Le Mans fans. I'm talking about a 1958 Lister-Jaguar "Knobbly" (€1.45 / $1.56 million), an OSCA MT4 (€1.3 / $1.4 million), a 1984 Lancia LC2 (€2.2 / $2.36 million), and a 1990 Nissan R90CK (€1 / $1.07 million).

The auction also includes a real-life Porsche 919 scale model, estimated to sell for at least €80,000 ($85,854), and a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2 Series III safety car. The prancing horse is expected to go to a new owner for more than €550,000 ($590,230).

The batch of 22 cars is joined by a 1965 Le Mans starter flag and a Rothmans Porsche racing suit used by Jacky Ickx. Both are offered without reserve and are estimated to sell for at least €30,000 and €8,000 ($32,188 and $8,583), respectively.

Arguably the most significant sale of Le Mans-related race cars in history, the auction will take place in the Le Mans Village, which requires a general entry ticket to the race for full access. The event will include three preview days (June 6 to 8), while bidding will commence on June 9. The cars will remain displayed during the 2023 Hours of Le Mans race.

Overall, the auction is expected to raise between €36.5 to €46 million ($39.2 to $49.3 million).
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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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