Six-Wheeled F1 Classics To Gather At Goodwood

Peter Anderson | Jun 20, 2012

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is just around the corner and, as the name suggests, all things fast (though not necessarily beautiful) will be in attendance.

A six-wheeled F1 car was certainly rapid in the right conditions but was extremely ugly and complex.

For the first time, three examples of this rare F1 breed will be together in one place, celebrating the often short-lived diversity in motorsport.

The best-known six-wheeler was the 1976 Tyrrell P34, mostly because it was the only one ever raced.

Designed by Derek Gardner, the front wheels were replaced with four 10-inch wheels, the theory being that the lower height of the smaller diameter wheels would reduce drag.

Tyrrell were often up to these sorts of tricks, all the way through to their 1996 attempt to run the narrower front tyres at the rear of their 024 F1 car at Monza.

The arrangement also made for a larger tyre contact patch and overall increase in area of the brakes.

The P34 triumphed at the Swedish Grand Prix with the team coming home 1-2 in the hands of Jody Scheckter and Patrick Depailler. Scheckter hated the car but Depailler was a fan.

The 1977 P34B was bigger and heavier and Ronnie Petersen was unable to repeat Scheckter's success.

The P34 concept was abandoned at the end of 1977. Tyrrell blamed tyre manufacturers lack of support for their tyre requirements.

The other two, lesser known six wheelers are the March 2-4-0 and Williams FW08B.

The Williams and March versions had the extra wheels at the rear to improve traction, a completely different philosophy to the P34.

Neither raced, partly because Williams were competitive without it and partly because of the extra weight.

In the early 80s, the ruling body eventually banned cars with more than four wheels, ending that particular innovation path.

These historical oddities have ended up in the hands of privateers, racing in hill climbs, the Thoroughbred Grand Prix series and often turning up at shows such as Goodwood.

The Goodwood Festival of Speed will be held, as ever, at Goodwood House from 29 June to 3 July.

Filed under: f1, Racing, News, Goodwood, motorsport, enthusiast, six wheels, six-wheelers

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