Elf Team Tyrrell 003 - 1971 British Grand Prix
- Scale guide
The dominant car that claimed Tyrrell Racing’s place in the Formula 1 history, the Elf Team Tyrrell 003 was a development of the very fast but unreliable 001. The 003 claimed the team’s first victory in its debut race, enabled Jackie Stewart to claim his second World Drivers’ Championship, and secured Elf Team Tyrrell their only Constructors’ Championship.
During the 1970 Formula One season, after he became disenchanted with the poor performance of the March Engineering chassis, and under pressure from Matra demanding he cease using Ford engines, Ken Tyrrell decided to build his own racing car. Employing ex-Ferguson designer Derek Gardner, who had worked on the Matra MS84 in 1969, the Tyrrell 001 car was designed and built in complete secrecy firstly at Gardner’s home, then at Tyrrell’s lumberyard in Surrey, as the team continued racing with the March chassis in the meantime. The 001 proved to be undependable, with Jackie Stewart failing to reach the chequered flag in any of its races during the latter stages of the 1970 season, though the sheer pace of the chassis was apparent as Stewart had led each race at some stage before retiring. After the season had finished, Gardner redesigned some sections of the car, altering the airbox, remodelling the nose section, lengthening the wheelbase and slightly narrowing the monocoque. In addition, Gardner had revised the front suspension, using a one-piece wishbone. Tyrrell continued to use the well-established Cosworth DFV V8 engine with 3.0 litre displacement; the power transmission was a five-speed Hewland FG40 gearbox. The team also switched tyre supplier to Goodyear after Dunlop withdrew from Formula 1.
The redesigned car ultimately birthed three different chassis known as 002, 003 and 004. For the 1971 season, François Cevert would pilot 002 and Jackie Stewart would race the 003, whilst 004 was not completed until later in the year. Cevert’s car was actually the first of the two new Tyrrells built for the 1971 season. Very much a development of the original car, 002 and 003 featured a thinner gauge aluminium for the monocoque skin but also additional safety features like sturdier roll-over bars. The 002 also had a slightly longer wheelbase to accommodate for Cevert’s taller frame. Initially, the two new Tyrrells looked similar to the 001 but the shape was developed during the season. A third car, 004, was built later in the year but only served as a spare.
In the hands of Stewart, the 003 was dominant. Debuting at the second race of the season in Spain, the Scotsman qualified in fourth position and, after a close battle with Jacky Ickx of Scuderia Ferrari, went on to win. A remarkable achievement in only Tyrrell’s fifth race as a constructor. The next race at the Monaco Grand Prix saw Stewart starting in pole position and securing an even more domineering victory, despite the heat in the cockpit giving him nausea by the race’s end. There was a brief reality check in the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, as Stewart could only manage eleventh in treacherous conditions, but he would bounce back in style. From the Dutch Grand Prix onwards, both cars were fitted with a black air-box, forcing more air into the intakes of the Cosworth DFV engine, improving cooling and giving the team a straight-line speed advantage that no other could match. Stewart took full advantage, taking consecutive victories in France, Britain and Germany. A violent accident took Stewart out of the running in Austria, his left rear driveshaft breaking and tearing the wheel from the 003. Fortunately, both driver and chassis only suffered minor injuries. Such was his lead in the standings that Ickx’s retirement saw Stewart become World Champion without evening needing to finish the race. Three races remained in the season, but the newly crowned champion retired from the following Italian Grand Prix due to an engine failure. He followed this up with a victory in Canada, in what was the first case of a red flag in Formula1: the race was red flagged after 64 laps due to thick fog descending onto the circuit. In the season’s final race at Watkins Glen, Stewart struggled with tyre wear but acted as the ultimate team player, waving through his young teammate Cevert and holding his rivals up for another three laps. Cevert would go on to take his maiden victory, sealing a perfect season for the team. In the team’s first full season, Elf Team Tyrrell finished first in the World Constructors’ Championship, scoring more than twice as many points as their nearest rival.
Stewart would go onto to win another two victories in the 003 during the 1972 season but, with Emerson Fittipaldi behind the wheel of the newly designed Team Lotus 72D, these victories only came when the Lotus retired. The 003 was itself withdrawn and replaced by the new generation Tyrrell 005 towards end of the season. It was retained by Tyrrell and used for promotional purposes before it was entrusted to Tom Wheatcroft. He put it on display for many years in his spectacular Donington Grand Prix Collection museum. More recently, it was acquired by Jackie Stewart’s sons, Paul and Mark, who have regularly demonstrated the car at events like the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Overall, the Tyrrell 003 earned eight Grand Prix victories, a further podium, six pole positions and five fastest laps, scoring 78 points across two seasons and winning both the 1971 World Drivers' Championship and the 1971 International Cup for F1 Manufacturers.
This fine 1:8 scale model of Tyrrell 003 replicates the car raced to victory by Jackie Stewart in the XXIV The Woolmark British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit on the 17th of July 1971. Stewart qualified second, behind the Ferrari of Clay Regazzoni and ahead of the BRM of Jo Siffert and the Lotus of Emerson Fittipaldi, the foursome separated by less than two hundredths of a second.
The start itself was a shambles, with a bungled flag drop causing a collision between Jackie Oliver’s McLaren and the Brabham of Graham Hill, for which Oliver was fined £50. The Ferraris of Regazzoni and Jackie Ickx started the quickest, the Belgian having stolen in behind his team-mate from the third row, but they immediately had Stewart hard on their heels. It took Stewart just a single lap to dispose of Ickx, and two laps to claim the lead from Regazzoni. Whilst the rest of the drivers tussled behind him, Stewart increased his lead to 18 seconds by lap 20 of 68. The Scotsman cruised home and extended his lead in the Championship to 23 points with only five races remaining. Such was Stewart’s domination that only two cars finished on the lead lap, the closest thirty-six seconds behind.
This model has been handcrafted utilising our own CAD data created by scanning the original 003 chassis in every detail, with the assistance of the Tyrrell family. The resulting prototype has undergone strict scrutiny to ensure complete accuracy.
The Tyrrell 003 is limited to 99 pieces at 1:8 scale.
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