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Sir The last V12 car to win in F1 was also the first Ferrari Schumacher tested. And will you just look at it?

The V12 Formula 1 car that gave Michael Schumacher his first taste of Ferrari has gone on sale, bringing one of the prettiest, best-sounding and most significant single seaters back into the spotlight after years in a private collection. For its looks and noise alone chassis 157 – which raced through 1995 in the months before Schumacher signed for Scuderia Ferrari - is probably worth a gazillion pounds. But it’s the car’s role in the story of a 26-year-old two-time champ who became the sport’s most successful driver that makes it one of the most special racing cars ever. Just look at the thing.

This 412 T2, which has recently undergone a full restoration at Ferrari’s home in Maranello, has official authentication to prove it was the car Schumacher tested first at Fiorano in November and then at Estoril, where he beat Ferrari racer Gehard Berger’s 1995 qualifying time by 0.7 seconds on day one. The car retains its Ferrari 3.0-litre Tipo 044 engine, which in race trim produces 600hp at 17,000rpm, a six-speed semi-automatic gearbox, as well as the correct 1995 bodywork and period pushrod suspension. The setup may have given Ferrari only one win in 1995 – and the last one for a V12 in F1 - but after Schumacher’s test, he believed it was capable of winning the world title.

That the car to succeed it, the F310, switched to V10 power, makes the 412 GT2 all the more special. The 1995 V12 racer will forever remain the last to make sounds like this. And with rumours of a Lewis Hamilton switch to the red team at the end of 2020, there’s a helpful air of familiarity about its history, which might up the appeal even further. Don’t forget, Schumacher’s decision to depart championship-winning Benetton for Ferrari was highly controversial. But his ability to lead a charge created one of the most compelling and dominant stories in F1. One that Hamilton would no doubt find inspiring were he to make a similar switch.

For the wealthy buyer who can get their hands on it, then, they’re buying a definitive - if small - part of that legend. And with Ferrari having made sure the oily bits are all in order, they get to live it out for real on circuit. If you’re interested, the car is being offered by Girard and Co with a first showing at the Re?tromobile show in Paris, before it arrives in G&C’s London showroom.

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