When you’re so loaded that pretty much no road car is off-limits, you might want to add a racer to your collection too. Perhaps an F1 car. Doing so is easy enough - old F1 machinery comes up for auction with relative frequency. After taking delivery, however, the faff begins. A lot of these things don’t come with engines, so you’ll need to source one. And if yours does, you’ll need a small army of people present whenever it’s to be started and run.
Without a lot of extra expense and aggravation, old F1 cars are just expensive ornaments. So, it makes sense to save a whole lot of money and buy a replica. Like this one.
What you see here certainly looks to be a McLaren-Mercedes MP4-26, but it’s not. This is a show car said to be “almost indistinguishable” from the real deal - a full-scale replica built via the original drawings and incorporating proper parts from the car Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button drove during the 2011 Formula 1 season.
It has the silver and Red Vodafone livery used at the time (some replicas are repurposed to incorporate current sponsors and colour schemes) and is marked with Hamilton’s name and race number from that year. Even the Enkei wheels are genuine, along with the Pirelli P Zero Compound 3 tyres that clad them.
Inside is a carbon fibre steering wheel complete with working LED shift lights and (we assume functioning) switchgear. There’s also a Schroth racing harness, so yes, you can strap yourself in and go ‘brum-brum’ noises.
The real version of this car was very competitive. Designed by a team including Neil Oatley, Paddy Lowe and Tim Goss, the MP4-26 took six wins (three apiece for Hamilton and Button), 18 podiums and one pole position from 19 races. Unfortunately for Woking, Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull RB7 proved to be a dominant force, meaning McLaren had to settle for the runner up spot in the constructor’s and driver’s championship, with Button finishing as best of the rest.
The replica is said to be in “superb condition” save for some light marks on the tyres and on the centre-locking wheel nuts. It’s apparently quite light, meaning it’ll be easy to find the optimal display position in your air-conditioned mega garage/living room/kitchen/master bedroom (delete as appropriate). Included in the sale is a framed certificate of authenticity signed by McLaren Racing boss Zak Brown.
At the time of writing, the bidding on Collecting Cars stood at £21,750 with six days to go. This will rise considerably - RM Sotheby’s recently auctioned off a Porsche 919 show car for over €200k and an MP4-24 (repainted in McLaren’s 2015 livery) last year for £66,000. Still, it’ll be a fraction of the price of the working MP4-25 sold by the company a few weeks back, which thanks in large part to its included support from McLaren Racing Heritage and Mercedes-AMG sold for a whopping £4.7 million.