Top Facts About Tyrrell Six-Wheeler
6. Its true pace was never realised
If the P34’s rise to race-winning status was swift, it’s decline and eventual abandonment was almost as fast. But why did Tyrrell give up on the six-wheeler at the end of 1977? The main answer was tyres. While Goodyear continued to develop their full-sized rubber throughout the ’76 season, development of Tyrrell’s bespoke mini tyres was, in Gardner’s words, almost “non-existent”.
That meant that as time went on the car became increasingly unbalanced front to rear, negating one of the main advantages of having four front tyres in the first place – improved front-end grip. What the car might have gone on to achieve with the right rubber, we’ll never know – though the P34 has become a frequent race winner on specially-made tyres in historic racing.
Regardless, while March, Ferrari and Williams all built prototype six-wheelers (all with four driven wheels at the rear), Tyrrell remain the only team to have raced and won with more than four wheels. A truly unique achievement – and one that, thanks to the banning of six-wheeled cars in the early Eighties, will never be matched.