The iconic Niki Lauda didn’t just leave a mark in Formula 1. Away from the single-seater tracks, one of his most prized rides, the Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16, heads to the auction block. This particular car carries a piece of racing history, having been driven by Lauda in the famed 1984 Race of Champions at the Nürburgring.

Key points about the 1984 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 race car driven by Niki Lauda:

  • It is one of only two 190 E 2.3-16s that were kept in racing spec after the Race of Champions.
  • The other car is in the Mercedes-Benz Museum. This makes Lauda’s car the only one of its kind in private hands.
  • The car was driven by Lauda, one of the most legendary Formula 1 drivers of all time.
  • Lauda won three world championships and is known for his incredible comeback after surviving a fiery crash at the Nürburgring in 1976.
  • The car is expected to sell for 400,000 to 500,000 Swiss francs, or about $450,000 to $565,000 at current exchange rates.
  • This is a high price for an early 190 E 2.3-16, but likely cheaper than buying one of Lauda’s old F1 cars.

Steering Through the History of the Race of Champions

Mercedes organized this one-off event in 1984, aiming to promote the grand opening of the Nürburgring’s new Grand Prix circuit. This race stood out because it wasn’t just about car capabilities; it was a test of raw driver skill. Why? Because every contender, all 20 of them, steered identical cars. The race saw an impressive lineup, boasting nine of the twelve F1 champions alive then. Among these legends, future champions Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna also graced the track.

1984 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 race car driven by Niki Lauda (photo via RM Sotheby's)


Decoding the Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16

At the heart of the race lay the Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16. A sporty variant of the classic 190 E compact sedan, this car was engineered for touring car races. The renowned Cosworth tuned its 16-valve inline-4 engine, giving it an edge on the track. For the Race of Champions, Mercedes didn’t hold back. They fitted the cars with a gamut of upgrades, from Recaro racing seats to a roaring new exhaust system.

1984 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 race car driven by Niki Lauda (photo via RM Sotheby's)

The Fierce Competition and the Car’s Legacy

Lauda showcased sheer brilliance, finishing just 1.58 seconds behind the legendary Ayrton Senna. While most cars from the race reverted to their original specs, Lauda and Senna’s racers retained their racing glory. Senna’s car now resides in the Mercedes-Benz Museum, leaving Lauda’s as the sole Race of Champions 190 E in private ownership.

In 2016, Lauda reunited with this masterpiece and autographed its roof. A year later, Mercedes-Benz Classic took the reins and restored the car to its prime.

1984 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 race car driven by Niki Lauda (photo via RM Sotheby's)

Grab This Piece of History

RM Sotheby’s auction in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on September 15, is where this automotive gem awaits its new owner. The 2018 price tag hovered between $450,000 to $565,000, highlighting its legacy and unmatched rarity in the racing realm.

For enthusiasts and collectors, this isn’t just a car; it’s a piece of motorsport history, an emblem of Lauda’s illustrious career, and a testament to racing’s golden era. Don’t miss the chance to own this legendary Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16.


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments