The Tyrrell 003 is one of the most successful Formula 1 cars of all time. It was Sir Jackie Stewart’s mount during the 1971 season and the first half of 1972, and during that time it won eight out of 16 Grands Prix, took six pole positions and recorded five fastest laps, and it carried him to the 1971 World Championship title.
Designed by Derek Gardner for Ken Tyrrell’s Surrey-based team, it used the ubiquitous Ford-Cosworth V8 engine and Hewland gearbox. While it broadly followed the design of other F1 cars of its era, the stiffness of its monocoque and the attention to detail that went into its construction meant that on the limit, to quote its driver, “it always offered you an invitation, never a challenge.”
It was the perfect complement to Stewart’s smooth, perfectionist driving style. It was also very reliable by the standards of the day, finishing 11 of those 16 races.
It won first time out in the Spanish Grand Prix; again in the next round, at Monaco; and then consecutively in the French, British and German Grands Prix. In France at Le Castellet and again in Germany on the notorious Nürburgring, 003 and its sister car, driven by team-mate François Cevert – finished one-two. Stewart went on to win the Canadian Grand Prix, his world title already assured, and into 1972 003 won the opening race of the season in Argentina.
Tyrrell had first become a Formula 1 constructor in 1970 to provide a suitable chassis for Stewart and, still based in the family timber yard at Ockham, the team continued to be a pillar of the Formula 1 community for almost 30 years.
As for this car, at a dinner in London at the end of 1973 to celebrate Sir Jackie’s retirement, Ken Tyrrell presented it to him as a leaving present.
Displayed courtesy of Sir Jackie Stewart, OBE from Monday 28th October to Tuesday 29th October in celebration of the Club’s London Motor Week with Sir Jackie. To read a review of the evening click here.