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CarFest South Tyrell– Jody Scheckter reunited with F1’s six-wheeled winner
– “It’s a car everyone wants to see,” says the F1 world champion
– Sir Jackie Stewart and Nick Mason at Laverstoke Park Farm

Motor sport history was recreated at CarFest South (23-25 August), staged at Laverstoke Park Farm in Hampshire, when Jody Scheckter climbed back into the revolutionary six-wheeled Tyrrell P34 for the first time in nearly 40 years.

It was back in 1976 that the Tyrrell team introduced one the most radical cars ever seen in Formula One racing. The ground-breaking P34 was conceived by the team’s ingenious chief designer Derek Gardner and featured not two conventional, but rather four much smaller front wheels designed to give additional grip and downforce – a concept since outlawed by the F1 rule makers. Two cars were built for the team’s drivers Scheckter and Patrick Depailler to race in that year’s FIA Formula One World Championship.

The P34’s landmark moment came at the 1976 Swedish Grand Prix staged at the Anderstorp circuit in June where Scheckter took pole position and then made history by becoming the only driver ever to win a Grand Prix in a six-wheeled car. Although that was the only win, in total the South African scored no fewer than ten top six finishes in the car from just 12 starts including second place finishes in Monte Carlo, Britain, Germany and America.

In recent years Scheckter has built up a fine collection of his former racing cars and earlier this year acquired the extraordinary Tyrrell P34. With CarFest South taking place quite literally in his own back yard – Laverstoke Park is the organic/biodynamic farm he now owns – it was the perfect occasion for Scheckter to reunite himself with the unique Grand Prix winning machine. The reunion on the fund-raising event’s spectacular hillclimb course was one of the weekend’s major highlights.

“In those days there was a lot more freedom in the design of Formula One cars,” recalled Scheckter who openly admits the inventive concept came as something of a shock even to him. “I think everyone was surprised by the design – it was kept very secret, even to us as drivers.”

Despite its pioneering spirit, the future World Champion wasn’t the P34’s greatest admirer in-period. “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,” he said. “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 World Championship [Behind James Hunt and Niki Lauda]. 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!”

Adding to the festival’s high-octane atmosphere, Scheckter also wowed the sell-out crowds with blasts in his sweet sounding V12 Ferrari 312 T4 – the scarlet machine in which he won the 1979 World Championship title. Moreover his son Tomas drove the Wolf WR2, the car in which his father won three Grands Prix en route to second place in the 1977 FIA World Championship.

Jody – who was joined at Laverstoke Park by fellow F1 World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart – also revelled in driving a 355bhp Mercedes A45 AMG road car. Though not on the official schedule, Scheckter managed to sneak the A45 onto the straw bale-lined course on several occasions during the weekend.

The CarFest hillclimb also featured a mouth-watering array of competition and supercars including an amazing selection iconic Gulf liveried racers from the RofCo Collection topped by the legendary Porsche 917 as driven by Steve McQueen in the movie Le Mans.

Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason was another to provide some stunning machinery including his priceless Ferrari 250 GTO and equally evocative Jaguar D-type. Mason himself demonstrated several of these on the hillclimb course along with his son-in-law, sportscar racer Marino Franchitti, his wife, Nettie and their son, Cary.

The three-day event was hosted by BBC Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans and helped to raise more than £1m for BBC Children in Need. As well as featuring an amazing line-up of the world’s finest road and racing cars, CarFest South also offered a feast of fabulous festival food, great family entertainment for all ages plus live music from top bands including Texas, Keane, Ocean Colour Scene, Jools Holland, Seasick Steve and Amy Macdonald.

For more information visit the official Carfest website at http://www.carfest.org.

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