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The Helmet F1 Champion Niki Lauda Wore In Nürburgring Goes Up For Auction

It was the 1976 German Grand Prix at the legendary Nürburgring circuit. Niki Lauda (1949-2019) was in the prime of his career and ready to defend his world champion title. 

But the Austrian driver’s luck took a dramatic turn on that fateful day. 

A Fiery Inferno

The date was August 1, 1976. Lauda tried to get others to boycott the race due to various safety concerns. Unfortunately, not enough drivers were interested in boycotting, so the race continued.  

On Lauda’s second lap, his vehicle slammed into the barrier, causing a horrific explosion that engulfed the car in flames. Lauda would become trapped in the inferno. He would suffer severe head burns and damage to his lungs from the toxic fumes before drivers would be able to pull him to safety.

His helmet was modified, so it did not fit him properly.

This lack of proper fitting caused it to slide off his head, exposing his face to the flames. Later in the day, he would lapse into a coma, many believing he would not survive his injuries. But he would. 

Not only did he survive his injuries, he would continue on to become a legend.

Remarkable Recovery

Lauda’s injuries were severe – he suffered severe burns and respiratory damage that would haunt him for the rest of his life. But with his trademark determination, the Austrian driver defied the odds. He returned to the track 40 days after the accident, finishing an astonishing fourth at the Italian Grand Prix. 

Lauda would later admit he was absolutely petrified to drive the race, but he did it anyway.

While he ultimately missed out on the 1976 title, his incredible comeback was the stuff of legends. His story would become a film called “Rush” in 2013. This movie would solidify Lauda’s status as one of motorsport’s greatest and most courageous drivers.

The Helmet Auction

The helmet Niki Lauda wore during that fateful race will be auctioned on May 4, 2024, at the Miami Grand Prix 2024. 

Bonhams’s auction house expects the helmet to sell for $50,000-$60,000.

On behalf of the Lauda family, a portion of the sale will be donated to UNICEF.

Niki Lauda’s son, Lukas Lauda, speaking on behalf of the Lauda family said, “We are delighted that our father’s legacy continues to provide help and assistance to those in most need. The challenges faced by UNICEF in providing humanitarian aid to children worldwide are enormous, if we can make a small contribution towards improving opportunities for others; we are delighted to do so.”

The auction will include helmets from other Grand Prix drivers, including Nigel Mansell, Michael Schumacher, and Gilles Villeneuve.

F1 Owner Purchases MotoGP

motogp racers on track
natursports / Depositphotos

Liberty Media acquires MotoGP for a whopping $4.5 billion. 

Read more about the acqcuisition

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