Lauda’s scared 1976 Nürburgring helmet to be auctioned in Miami


Niki Lauda’s historic 1976 German GP helmet, worn by the late Austrian during his harrowing crash at the Nürburgring, is set to be auctioned by Bonhams at next month’s Miami GP.

Lauda’s crash, etched in Formula 1 history, saw the Ferrari driver narrowly escape death when he inexplicably lost control of his car on the second lap of the race at the track’s Bergwerk section.

The Ferrari 312T2 hit the Armco barrier almost head on, the massive impact wrenching Lauda’s helmet from his head while his car burst into flames before it was hit by the Surtees of Brett Lunger.

Battered and ablaze, the Austrian’s car settled on the side of the track, while four of his fellow drivers immediately stopped to pull the unfortunate Austrian from the wreck and out of harm’s way.

Prior to the race, Lauda had vehemently campaigned for a driver boycott of the treacherous 14.2-mile Nordschleife circuit, citing its inadequate safety measures, scant medical support, and ominous weather forecasts. However, the boycott failed by a single vote.

After suffering severe burns and respiratory damage, and fighting for his life in hospital for several days, Lauda valiantly returned to racing a mere 40 days after his crash.

The three-time world champion defied the odds by taking part in the Italian GP at Monza, finishing a remarkable fourth in the grueling 52-lap race, showcasing his unparalleled determination and courage.

Unfortunately, Lauda would go on to lose the 1976 world title to his McLaren rival and friend James Hunt by just a single point at the last race in Japan.

Bearing the scars of the fiery crash, Lauda’s helmet has been privately held since1976 in “notable car and Formula 1 memorabilia collections” according to Bonhams which will auction the historic item on Saturday, May 4 at the Miami GP.

A portion of the proceeds of the sale will be donated to the Lauda family’s chosen charity UNICEF.

“We are delighted that our father’s legacy continues to provide help and assistance to those in most need,” said Lukas Lauda, Niki’s oldest son.

“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.”

Bonhams|Cars Automobilia Specialist, James Garguilo added: “We are privileged to present this historically significant helmet, as a testament to Niki Lauda's legacy as a driver and as a champion for driver safety.

“His unyielding determination and sheer courage altered the trajectory of racing history.”

Bonhams’ auction in Miami will also see helmets from Gilles Villeneuve, Michael Schumacher, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Jean Alesi, Gerhard Berger and Eddie Irvine go under the hammer at the May 4 event.

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