Jody Scheckter got back behind the wheel of the revolutionary six-wheeled Tyrrell P34 for the first time in nearly 40 years last weekend at CarFest South.
The 1979 F1 world champion added the 1976 Tyrrell to his collection of former racing cars earlier this year and with CarFest South taking place quite literally in his own back yard at Laverstoke Park Farm, it was the perfect occasion for the South African 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 F1 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.”
“The Tyrrell P34 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 added. “Perhaps, it wasn't quite as a bad as I remembered, however; after all I did win a Grand Prix in it [in Sweden] 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!”
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 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 World Championship.
Jody, who was joined at Laverstoke 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 hillclimb also featured an 'array of competition and supercars' including a selection of 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
““We laughed, we laughed and we laughed again. CarFest South has been a fantastic blast and the best so far,” Evans summed-up. “Somehow this has topped the huge success of last year. We've had even more fun and raised even more money. Let's do it again!”