First Formula 1 Car Ever Raced by Niki Lauda Heads to Auction
Niki Lauda is a man of many talents. He put everything on the line to be a racing driver despite his father’s disapproval. After starting out with a MINI, the Austrian driver took out a loan to buy his way into the March Formula 2 team in 1971. Then Lauda leveled up to F1 in 1972 and the rest is history.
His first public outing in Formula 1, however, was at the Austrian Grand Prix at Zeltweg in August 1971. Seated behind the wheel of the 1971 March 711 you can admire in the photograph above, Lauda was unable to finish the race due to a steering issue. A rough start for the non-executive chairman of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, the man who won three world titles over the course of his career. And yes, the first Formula 1 car ever raced by Niki Lauda is heading to auction, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.
Slated to fetch a considerable amount of money at an auction slated for May 14 in Monaco, the March 711 chassis number 711-02 wears a bite-the-back-of-your-hand beautiful body shell designed by Frank Costin, a gentleman that was instrumental in adapting aircraft aerodynamic know-how for automobile use. The front airfoil mounted on top of the car’s nose is the highlight stylistic element.
A 3.0-liter Ford-Cosworth DFV V8 with 450 horsepower is mounted right behind the driver’s seat, sporting dual overhead camshafts and Lucas fuel injection. The engine is connected to a five-speed manual transaxle. This particular example of the breed has been the weapon of choice for Ronnie Peterson in the 1971 season. This car’s best results are two second places at Monaco and the Rhein-Pokalrennen.
Chassis number 711-2 was retired that August, then acquired by a racing enthusiast in 1973. That enthusiast still owns the thing, which should mean a lot for the lucky fellow that will bid the most on it this May.