It’s no secret that Las Vegas is distancing itself from being identified solely as “Sin City,” and doing so by rebranding on multiple fronts, not the least of which is the goal of becoming the new stateside hub for car culture. Last year’s Concours d’Elegance Wynn Las Vegas hinted at the potential of giving Monterey Car Week competition, but the real case is made with the 2023 Formula 1 Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix in November, a return of the world’s premier motorsport series to the desert metropolis after 41 years.
With Wynn’s next concours and Formula 1’s penultimate race of the season scheduled just a week apart, the only component missing was the automotive auction presence—until now. Robb Report has been given the exclusive that RM Sotheby’s and Wynn Las Vegas will team up for the official auction of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, which will take place at the Wynn’s Awakening Theater on November 17.
“The official auction of the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix will bring together the worlds of automobiles, hospitality, and sports, showcasing the world’s most coveted cars along with iconic memorabilia,” states Bryon Madsen, president of RM Sotheby’s, in the company’s announcement set to release later today.
RM Sotheby’s is obviously hoping to parlay its highly successful showing during Monterey Car Week in August. According to results provided by the classic-car-insurance specialists at Hagerty, RM Sotheby’s was responsible for US$154.1 million of the US$400.1 million total sales from the five major auction houses—also including Bonhams, Gooding & Company, Mecum, and Broad Arrow—during Northern California’s annual automotive celebration. That figure represents a sell-through rate of 85 percent, an average lot price of US$901,351, and the sale of five of the 10 most expensive cars at auction in Monterey this year. And while the volume will be far less in Vegas, the level of presentation aims to be unprecedented.
“We are looking to break out of the conventional auction model and create the atmosphere of a Las Vegas show,” says Thatcher Keast, auction coordinator for RM Sotheby’s. “It’s going to be quite the performance.” The venue fits that bill perfectly, as the 1,600-seat theater—home to the acclaimed production Awakening—features cutting-edge sound and illumination as well as a 360-degree, 60-foot stage of dual-colored glass and LED displays.
Of the approximately 20 exclusive lots crossing the block, one that’s sure to capture the limelight is a 2021 McLaren Elva. Debuted in 2019, the model comes in at 2,809 pounds (curb weight with full tank) and is touted by the British marque as “the lightest road car ever from McLaren Automotive.” Part of the automaker’s Ultimate Series, the definitive roadster eschews not only any form of roof but even a windscreen (optional), while able to cover zero to 60 mph in less than three seconds and reach 203 mph due to its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 responsible for 590 ft lbs of torque.
The example to be bid on, one of only 149 built, is dressed in a shimmering Pacific Color Stream paint application. “It emulates the neon and flashiness of Vegas, drawing your attention” says Keast of the exterior. But the idée fixe for collectors will be the fact that despite having an estimated value ranging from US$1.8 million to US$2.4 million, and with less than 100 miles on it, this Elva is being offered without reserve.
The auction will take place at 4 p.m. PT and should be over well before the evening start of Friday’s final practice for the drivers. The qualifying session and race will be held on Saturday, November 18.