As soon as John
Dimmer took possession of his Tyrrell 004, he and John
Delane (owner of the sister car Tyrrell 002) started making plans to recreate
the "impression" of Elf Team Tyrrell from the
proper car decals down to the gear for the drivers. Six months of
combing through books and videos and contacting friends at the Sporting
Car Club of South Australia provided them with photos of the proper
drivers suits, helmets, gloves, and shoes . Dimmer says, "Not only do I love
driving these cars, I love researching the history. I'm full of more
bits of minutia about these cars than you can ever imagine." (Recreations of the crew
uniforms are the next step.)
challenge was that there was no standard for a driving suit for Elf Team
Tyrrell. Jackie Stewart apparently had a concern that he would show up
for a race meeting, but his gear wouldn't make it. He had driving suits,
shoes, gloves, and everything stashed around Europe so that in case his
stuff didn't make it, he'd have a spare somewhere close by. "There
are probably about a half a dozen different styles," says Dimmer.
However, it was fairly standard that Tyrrell drivers used a pale blue
suit -- so, with a few modifications and the proper vintage Elf, Goodyear
and Ford patches, a Stand 21 suit fit the bill. "I don't know that
you could ever find a picture out there with either Cevert or Stewart
wearing a drivers suit that looks exactly like the suits we've got, but
I think that if you approached almost anybody who was involved with
racing and showed them the drivers suit -- because we captured the
flavor of what the drivers suit was all about -- they'd look at it and
say, 'Oh yeah, that was the suit that Stewart wore, yeah, that was the
suit that Cevert wore.' That's how we went about the styling."
recreated Cevert's helmet, but upon hearing that Stewart doesn't like
people replicating his trademark royal Stewart tartan helmet, Dimmer
chose to recreate only the "flavor" of Stewart's helmet.
"I have a great deal of respect for Jackie Stewart and what he has
accomplished and I don't want to offend him," explains Dimmer. "When
the cars go by, you see Delane in Cevert's helmet and me in my helmet
and the way the cars are done up you feel that you're looking at Elf
Team Tyrrell. And of course, I think that Pete Lyons would tell you that
we were successful in that whole endeavor."
researched the period car decals and their exact locations on the car.
"When we got done with our racecar it looked exactly the way it did
when Stewart drove it at Monaco in '72. Delane's car as well has the
decals." The wings have the trademark Goodyear logo sans the
familiar foot of Mercury -- Dimmer believes it's the only place he's
seen Goodyear put their logo without the foot. "To me, the fun is
getting the details right. The objective of the whole program for John
and me is when we run together on the racetrack we want people to view a
scene that hasn't been in existence for 30 years. We want people to see
what it was like when Jackie Stewart and Francois Cevert drove these
cars during the '72 season."
track, it takes no special effort on their part to run together.
"The reality is, I think that I'm a pretty good racing driver, John
Delane is certainly a good racing driver, the cars are very well
matched, and we are sharing information as to car setups. So at the end
of the day, I don't think you're really going to see a situation where
either myself or John is significantly faster than the other. And
certainly, one of the interesting things about the Historic Grand Prix
group, if you look at how the races finish, there really isn't any
driver who's been able to take an older car and transcend their period.
You don't have a situation where a 1973 car is running up with the 1979,
1980, 1981 cars. Generally what happens, you've got the newer cars up
front, the midyear cars kind of in the middle, and the older cars in the
back. And I think that that's just due to the fact that the technology
was advancing so quickly at the time, that that's where those cars
should run. Even though we've got a lot of good drivers, you can't
overcome technology limitations. In general, we're right where we should
be in terms of the evolution of racecar design, as are the guys in front
efforts paid off at the 2001 Monterey Historics when they received the
Pete Lyons Cup for evoking the best memories of Formula One racing.
"It was unbelievable," recalls Dimmer. "John and I would
just kind of look at each other and go, 'How do you get so lucky as to
win a really neat award like this just for going out and having such
a good time?' It was a tremendous thrill. John and I did the things with
Elf Team Tyrrell because that's fun for us. We get a big kick out of it
and what we really hope is at the end of the day we've put on a good
show and that people enjoyed it. And to have somebody of the stature of
Pete Lyons tell us that we have accomplished our objective -- and tell
us that by giving us the Pete Lyons award -- that was a huge thrill. As
I've told people, I don't want anybody to touch me right now, because
somebody might wake me up. It's a very nice dream I'm living."