RENAULT SHOW CAR WITH REAL BENETTON F1 RACE HISTORY FOR SALE

This Renault R29 show car has been built around a Benetton B201 chassis with genuine Formula 1 race history. Pic: Collecting Cars

IT may not look like it, but this car raced in the 2001 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.

A Renault R29 show car has come up for auction in Europe, but under its 2009-spec ING livery and panelwork lies a chassis with genuine F1 history from one of ‘Team Enstone’s prior iterations.

Underpinning the show car is Benetton B201-01, the first chassis built for the team’s final season racing under the Italian fashion concern’s name.

Renault had purchased the team from the Benetton family prior to the 2000 season, and the B201 was the first car equipped by an engine carrying the French marque’s name since 1997.

However, its decision to adopt a V10 engine with a wide 112-degree vee angle – whose lower overall height promised aerodynamic and centre of gravity benefits but was initially short on reliability and 100 horsepower shy of its rivals – meant drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Jenson Button were left scrapping in the back half of the field.

Button endured a troubled practice and qualifying with B201-01 at Albert Park. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

Chassis 01 was Button’s chassis for the start of the season, beginning with the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.

The Englishman qualified 16th in B201-01 but made a late switch to the team’s spare car for the race.

He then raced chassis 01 to 11th in Malaysia and 10th in Brazil before reverting to spare car duties for the final five races of the season.

The chassis plate on the show car’s tub reads Benetton B201-01. Pic: Collecting Cars

Later in its life the car was converted into a show car with Renault R29 bodywork, and last year was listed for sale wearing a 2009 Honda ‘Earth Dreams’ livery.

Now returned to its 2009 Renault colours, the car is in Italy and, at the time of writing, has a current high bid of 10,350 euro (approximately AU$15,300).

The auction ends at 6am AEDT on Monday 14 March.

See the full listing at collectingcars.com.

Will Dale is V8 Sleuth's Head of Content - Digital. He began his media career as a breakfast radio newsreader before joining SPEED TV Australia and FOX SPORTS Australia in 2012 as its Digital Editorial Lead - Motorsport, covering all forms of motorsport both in Australia and internationally. He became part of the V8 Sleuth team in 2018.