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Tyrrell six-pack sends Scheckter to Swedish success

Jody Scheckter drives the Tyrrell P34 to victory in the Swedish Grand Prix - June 13 1976.

© F1-photo.com / Cahier Archive

We never willingly pass up an opportunity to show off the Tyrrell P34, one of Formula 1's most instantly recognisable and unusual cars in almost seven decades of racing.

The six-wheel design still shocks and astonishes even now. It made its d├ębut at the 1976 Spanish Grand Prix and was the brainchild of designer Derek Gardner.

It was on this day 42 years ago that the car won its first (and only) Grand Prix. The race took place over 72 laps of the Scandinavian Raceway in Anderstorp, Sweden.

Jody Scheckter put the car on pole position for the race. Mario Andretti quickly took the lead for Lotus, but he was subsequently given a 60 second jump start penalty and then suffered an engine failure. Scheckter took the lead and won the race, leading his team mate Patrick Depailler across the line by almost 20 seconds.

Niki Lauda joined them on the podium. The Austrian had already won four of the first six races of the season and seemed to be an unstoppable force when it came to the 1976 world championship.

Even so, Scheckter hadn't given up: "You never know, Lauda might fall over tomorrow and break a leg!" he quipped after his win in Sweden. He wasn't to know that two months later, Lauda would nearly die in a fiery blaze at the Nurburgring. The title eventually went to McLaren's James Hunt.

As for the Tyrrell P34, it briefly led to some copycat development by rival teams. But those small front wheels were never really supported by Goodyear, and regulation changes the following year made the whole thing much less competitive. The car's final Grand Prix outing was in Japan in October 1977.

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