Niki Lauda’s World Championship winning Ferrari 312T has been sold for 6 million USD at auction.
The sale of one of the five models of the Ferrari 312T in the world was carried out by Gooding & Company at an auction in Pebble Beach, California in the United States.
The Ferrari 312T helped Lauda win his first World Championship in 1975 and brought the first title to Ferrari since 1964, ending an 11-year dry spell for ‘the prancing horse’.
Lauda would win two more World Championships in 1977 and 1984 after a shocking crash in 1976 left him with severe burns before he retired in 1985. He later gained recognition for this work as an aviation entrepreneur.
The historical importance of the Ferrari, which still has the chassis the Austrian driver used when he won the 1975 French Grand Prix, made the car an item of interest for collectors.
Niki Lauda passed away earlier this year aged 70 in the University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland, where he underwent dialysis treatment for kidney problems following a prolonged period of ill health.
In 2014, Lauda made the last big changes to his will where he distributed his fortune of reportedly 500 million EUR (457.92 million GBP). It favoured his second wife Birgit, the couple’s nine-year-old twins Mia and Max as well as both of his sons Lukas and Mathias from his earlier marriage.
Even though his four children and his widow Birgit were the main benefactors, Lauda still reportedly set a significant sum aside for his first wife Marlene and his other son Christoph.
According to local media, Lauda was still on good terms with his first wife who took turns with Birgit sitting beside his hospital bed in Zurich.
Lauda also added a passage in his will forbidding his heirs to pledge or cede assets to third parties.
If all direct heirs die out, any remaining money will reportedly go the Museum of Art History in Vienna, with the money being earmarked to buy new works of art which then must be showcased with a sign with ‘NIKI LAUDA’ in upper case letters to remind the public who gifted the paintings.
Following Lauda’s infamous crash during the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring where he suffered severe burns, damaged his lungs and escaped death by a whisker, he was frequently hospitalised.
He received kidney transplants in 1976 and 2005 (from his brother Florian and second wife Birgit as donors respectively) as well as a lung transplant in Vienna in August last year.
He founded three airlines, with Lauda Air being eventually sold to Austrian Airlines, his low-cost airline Niki being eventually incorporated into the now-defunct Air Berlin, and his latest venture Laudamotion being sold to Ryanair in December 2018.
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