Jody Scheckter, Tyrrell P34, CarFest, 2013

Scheckter gets back in his six-wheeled Tyrrell for first time since 1976

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Jody Scheckter, Tyrrell P34, CarFest, 2013

Jody Scheckter, the only driver to win an F1 race in a six-wheeled car, drove the famous Tyrrell for the first time since 1976 last weekend.

Scheckter took the car to victory in the 1976 Swedish Grand Prix at Anderstorp but famously disliked the unusual creation and left the team at the end of the year.

He hasn’t driven the P34 since. But the 1979 world champion got back behind the wheel for last week’s CarFest event at the Laverstoke Park Farm in Hampshire which he owns.

“The Tyrrell wasn?t my favourite F1 car to drive but it was certainly a novelty and it?s a car that everybody loves to see and talk about,” said Scheckter.

“Perhaps, it wasn?t quite as a bad as I remembered, however; after all I did win a Grand Prix in it and managed to finish third in the [1976] world championship. It was very controllable and pretty good on street circuits, too, which means it?s fairly well suited to racing up and down the farm drive here at Laverstoke.”

Six-wheeled car designs were outlawed at the end of 1982. “In those days there was a lot more freedom in the design of Formula One cars,” Scheckter added.

But the radical P34 was more unusual than most. “I think everyone was surprised by the design,” he said, “it was kept very secret, even to us as drivers”.

Scheckter also piloted a Ferrari 312T4 with a flat-12 engine of the type he won the world championship with in 1979 – the last Ferrari driver to do so before Michael Schumacher 21 years later.

Also in action at Laverstoke was a Wolf WR2 driven by Scheckter’s son Tomas, a former IndyCar driver. Scheckter made history by giving Wolf a victory in their first race at Buenos Aires in 1977.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “Scheckter gets back in his six-wheeled Tyrrell for first time since 1976”

  1. To me it’s the most fascinating thing how Scheckter would admit not being nearly as fast as Villeneuve, yet Scheckter won the world championship. Villeneuve wasn’t going to pit for tyres to get the maximum amount of points, he’d rather try to defend a position on fading tyres instead. Honestly I can’t think of another example where the driver that everyone praised as being faster lost the championship battle to his teammate. Scheckter wasn’t slow, but I guess he was much smarter.

  2. What a treat to see Jody Scheckter in such a novel car again. I never did understand how, or why, anybody could build a 6 wheel F1 car that could even keep up let alone win a race. The 60s and 70s were such an era of F1 innovation the likes of which will never be seen again. Thanks for the story and photos @keithcollantine .

    1. Jody isn’t one of the most famous WDCs for some reason. He was a good driver.

      1. @full-throttle-f1

        Usually those who win championships by being smart rather than the fastest never seem to be too popular with the crowds. Sheckter, Prost, Button etc.

        1. @aced you are correct but it doens’t always seem the case, despite the fact that Senna was king still a lot of people supported Prost just because he was the only one capable of taming the beast that was Senna. Button is also getting a lot of criticism but he is still the most followed driver here on F1 fanatic according to Keiths article a couple of weeks ago. I don’t het that because even though the majority of active persons on this site are Bristish they still go with Button and not with Hamilton who is obviously a diffrent catagory compared to Button.

          This all suports my theory that people will never like dominating drivers or simply drivers that win a lot of races. Look at Vettel and Schumacher, they both are and have dominated F1 in their own repective ways but people didn’t like it. The majority just wants to see the underdog take it and that is the hard truth.

  3. I think it’s pretty clear that Gilles could have won the 1979 championship if he had disobeyed team orders at the Italian Grand Prix and passed Scheckter. Instead, he displayed great honour and sportsmanship. The respect he earned for that still hasn’t been forgotten.

  4. That front wing surely ist heavily allergic to wind tunnels.

    1. Looks like three snow shovels glued together. @rankx22

  5. There’s something very satisfying about a course lined with straw bales – on a farm.
    I wonder if the event will grow organically (sorry about that) and become an alternative Festival of Speed?

  6. 6 wheels, from 76 to 82 inclusive, 7 years of radically different solutions to the same problem, F1 was definitely more intellectualy interesting then.

  7. Can anybody explain what the idea behind four front wheels is? Simply more grip?

    1. Supposedly it was an aerodynamic thing. They made the front wheels smaller to reduce the frontal area exposed to the air, but this reduces available grip, so they added a second pair of wheels to maintain the same contact patch.

      Personally I think they should’ve been looking at other areas of the car if they wanted to improve aerodynamic efficiency, look at that bathtub of a cockpit! The next iteration of this car looks much better.

      1. Don’t forget to check out the Covini C6W.

      1. Thanks! Quite interesting! Wonder whether an eight-wheeler would make sense given that they sometimes used four wheels at the back, and sometimes four wheels at the front.

        There was an unsuccessful early road car with eight wheels on four axles, which had very good ride apparently as there were a lot of potholes at the time:

  8. …and then he left for Wolf, and had a superb season…

  9. Damn damn damn, this is really near to me. I even rode on my bike over that way on Monday, past his farm which is one of my bike ride routes. There were signs for car fest in Basingstoke but not where it was exactly and nothing at all as to who was going to be there. I just assumed it would be the usual car show and nothing more.


  10. This article brought me very fond memories of a fantastic F1 era.

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