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Q. about 6-wheeled Williams...


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#1 Flicker

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Posted 12 August 2000 - 15:49

Does anyone have any pictures & info about Williams 6-wheeler?
-----------------------------
A couple of years ago I browse this AJ Samuel's page about Williams museum in Didcot with several non-pro-fotos of 6-wheeler : http://www.dolomite....mus/willmus.htm
The page referres to 1991 year and active till now. (check the URL)
Then I have a copy of Williams-fan page (The Williams Database TimeLine) where they posted a poor quality shots of FW08D-6-wheeler with Keke at the wheel (during 1982 Silverstone testing) and with Palmer (1994 Goodwood Festival of Speed) (See: Text2)


Text 1 - The Williams Team Museum.
"In December 1991, thanks to the nice people at Goodyear, I managed to infiltrate myself into a tour of the Williams factory at Didcot. Unfortunately the only bit that they let me take photos of was the private museum...."

Text 2: - The Six-Wheelers.
"Over the years, in an effort to remain ahead of the competition, there have been a number of technical advances which have stretched the rules to the very limit, such as Brabhams 'Fan Car'. Many have never made it off the drawing board, others have, only to be banned, after contesting only one race in the case of the fan car.
Over the history of Formula One a recurring theme is that of the six-wheeler, now specifically banned, but at one time March, Tyrrell and Williams all had six wheeled cars in various stages of development. All had the same objective - more grip. Of the three the Tyrrell P34 was the most successful and remains the only six-wheeled car to have won a race, Sweden in 1976, when Patrick Depailler followed home Jody Scheckter.
Williams had two attempts at a six-wheeled car - the FW07C and a year later the FW08D.
After carrying out some detailed calculations, Patrick Head reached the conclusion that the very large contemporary rear tyres used by F1 cars were responsible for something in the order of 40 per cent of the machine's overall aerodynamic drag. His wind tunnel investigations had suggested that a six-wheeler, using four small rear wheels to do the driving, would offer a significant performance improvement.
The rival March team had made a prototype of a similar system back in 1977, but lacked the necessary funds to develop the concept. Head, however, pressed on with his interpretation of the theme.
Hewland, the Maidenhead, UK, based specialist gear manufacturers, offered some assistance with the package, drawing on the experience gained with March.
The new rear end set-up was centred on the conventional two-wheeled drive car's rear axle centre line, so the leading rearward axle of the six-wheeler was placed four inches ahead of the regular position and the drivershafts angled to cope. The rearward axle was driven be an additional final drive unit added on to the back of the transmission package.
The prototype Williams FW07D six-wheeler was sampled by Alan Jones at Donnington Park just after his victory in the 1981 Caesars Palace Grand Prix at Las Vegas, his final triumph for the team. He was impressed, but it's rocket-like acceleration and outstanding grip were not in themselves enough to persuade the tough Aussie to revoke his retirement decision.
The system surfaced again during 1982 when Keke Rosberg tried an FW08, similarly equipped, during testing at Paul Ricard. Patrick had to re-think the concept to overcome the difficulty of packaging the aerodynamic underwings, but the whole project came to nothing when six-wheelers were specifically banned at the start of 1983.
One of the original cars is now held within the Williams Collection and is occasionally taken out. It was raced by Jonathan Palmer at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 1994, setting the course record against more powerful machinery, showing what a force it could have been."

TEXT 3 (about The Williams Collection)
"Standing next to the old Williams factory at Basil Hill Road, stood an anonymous looking, white, cubed, building, owing more for it's design to Tate & Lyle than Sir Christopher Wren. Within it's walls it housed two things: The Williams Conference Centre and Grand Prix Collection. Collection always seemed such an inadequate word for the riches that were held within the walls on the ground floor - an example of every Williams Grand Prix Car since Williams Grand Prix Engineering was formed in 1977 - and more besides.
The conference center had two rooms, The Piers Courage Suite and the Alan Jones Room, named after the two drivers closest to Frank Williams' heart but the centre-piece of the building was the Grand Prix Collection.
As Frank Williams points out in the promotional brochure, the centre isn't open to the general public, but over the next few pages you can take a tour of the museum through a series of pictures taken there in 1992."


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#2 John Cross

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Posted 12 August 2000 - 17:17

A fascinating project this - one of GP's most interesting 'might have beens' (along with the Cisitalia, Sacha Gordine and Lotus 88 - is this worth a separate thread?). The best info I have is from Nye's 'Autocourse History of the GP Car 1966-91'. This is what he says:

The Williams Six-Wheeler

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Since the single most inefficient aerodynamic feature of the modern Formula 1 car has been its massively obstructive wide rear tyres, the use of six front-sized wheels and tyres on the enormously long-underwing Williams six-wheeler showed phenomenal straight-line speed...

In 1977 Robin Herd of March briefly — and cheaply — explored the low-drag aerodynamic advantages of an 0-2-4 six-wheeler layout for Formula 1 using front-size wheels and tyres with the rear four all driven. He simply added a third axle and final-drive behind the standard units but had no budget to develop the idea further.

Then during 1980-81 Renault and Ferrari began to set new performance standards with their turbocharged engines which the Cosworth brigade could not match.

At that time turbocharged engines simply were not available for client teams. Patrick Head of Williams Grand Prix Engineering approached Ferrari to use their V6 but the answer, predictably, was ‘No’. Cosworth at that time had a rather negative attitude towards attempting to extract more than their usual 490-500 bhp from the DFV engine on which most specialist teams relied. Williams therefore began a development programme of their own with John Judd’s Engine Developments concern of Rugby. Cam and valve specialist Chris Walters assisted, and they eventually saw 535-40 bhp from their DFVs.

Sheer straightline speed was the turbos’ greatest single advantage, and they also had an edge on overall acceleration despite this being diminished by the extra equipment weight they carried.

Conventional rear tyres at that time were 29 in. outside diameter on ultra-wide rims, generating some 40 per cent of the car’s aerodynamic drag. By using three axles, two driven at the rear, and running small front-size tyres on each, it was possible to reduce drag while at least maintaining, at best improving upon, aggregate rear contact-patch area and traction. And other advantages emerged.

Aerodynamic underwing skirts were restricted to the area within the wheelbase. With an extra axle, skirted underwings could be longer and their working area and total download therefore much larger. A six-wheeled model was made and tested promisingly in the Didcot wind tunnel.

The new 4x4 rear end was centred more or less around the conventional four-wheeled car’s rear axle-line, the second-axle wheels now being some four inches ahead of the normal position with raked-forward drive-shafts, and the new third axle outrigged just behind from an extension supplementary final-drive.

Hewland Engineering assisted on the transmission. The March 0-2-4 car was being hill-climbed by Roy Lane at that time and its FT gearbox first-gear often stripped because the normal wheel-spin safety-valve had been removed by 4x4 start-line grip. So Head was advised to use the more robust DG gear cluster, allied to smaller final-drives.

The FW07D monocoque was prepared for this rear end, and Jones first drove it one week after Las Vegas 1981, but stood by his decision to retire, despite two standing starts in which the new car took off like a bullet without wheelspin. Palmer tested at Silverstone in the wet and was very quick, the team suspecting they could actually run slick tyres on the third axle since the track was so well drained ahead of it by wet tyres on the first two axles. Patrick was concerned however about tight corners, so a test was held at Croix-en-Ternois in northern France, where Palmer lapped as quickly as the new four-wheeled FW08 car. The ‘08’s short tub had actually been tailored to match this 4x4 rear end with those vast underwings.

The six-wheeler was some 120 lb heavier and in this prototype form its aerodynamic download and drag were broadly similar. Because of their great length and considerable width, the underwings could get away with only a modest flare, rising towards the rear, but though this took them beneath the driveshafts, they still passed above the lower wishbones, which inter-rupted airflow in this crucial area.

Consequently a second-generation six-wheel conversion was then designed, in which fixed-length drive-shafts would be used as lower lateral location members (as in the 1960 Lotus 18), leaving the six-wheeler’s underwing tunnels completely unobstructed. In this design the conventional high rear wing on its pillar would be replaced by a simple rear-body trim-flap like the Lotus 80’s.

Meanwhile water-ballast weight-saving ploys seemed more profitable short-term and Rosberg ultimately won the Drivers’ Championship in the four-wheeled FW08, while calendar pressures only slowed progress on the six-wheeler update, tunnel tests suggesting 30 per cent greater download.

How well would it have worked?

With an outside consultant, Williams had by this time developed a very accurate lap-time-simulation computer programme. It predicted a Ricard-Castellet six-wheeler lap of 1;28. Prior to the 1985 Australian GP, on a circuit the team had never even seen, they set up this programme simply on the map provided. The prediction indicated an FW10-Honda best qualifying time of 1;20.4, actually clocking 1;20.5, and a best race lap of 1;23.1, actually clocking 1;23.7... so the prediction programme really was incredibly accurate. By the end of 1985 the powerful Williams-Hondas, albeit flat-bottomed, were still lapping Ricard around 1;32 — four seconds slower than the far less powerful Cosworth-engined six-wheeled ground-effects car should have been.

But six-wheelers and four-wheel drive were both then banned for 1983 and perhaps it was as well, for this time everyone must surely have followed the six-wheeled lead and grids full of such exotica might have been too far removed from what the public and sponsors would understand to maintain credibility and interest.

But what a nice try …

#3 John Cross

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Posted 12 August 2000 - 17:20

Another thought - with overtaking being so difficult these days, the acceleration from the grid would now be a phenomenal advantage...

#4 Felix Muelas

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Posted 12 August 2000 - 21:57

Originally posted by John Cross
A fascinating project this - one of GP's most interesting 'might have beens' (along with the Cisitalia, Sacha Gordine and Lotus 88 - is this worth a separate thread?).


John !!!
For God's sake!
Start immediatly a thread on the Sacha Gordine, please!
(As soon as my son -named like you- gives me a break, I promise to look and find my -old- notes on this and follow you!
Un abrazo
Felix


#5 Tony Kaye

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Posted 12 August 2000 - 22:16

I suppose the first six-wheeled racing car was the Vauxhall-Villiers of Raymond Mays. He wanted maximum acceleration from a standing start for hill climbs and first experimented with progressively lower tire pressures. They realized that the improved starting times were due to the larger 'patch' and took the logical step to put four wheels on the rear axle. It worked.

So the later 6-wheeled Mercedes and Auto Union hillclimb cars of the thirties, plus a host of British racing cars, were merely following the lead of Raymond Mays and Amherst Villiers.

Any discussion of six-wheelers cannot omit the Pat Clancy Special which ran in the 1949 Indianapolis 500. This was the first of the 0-2-4 cars and therefore the progenitor of the Williams, though Patrick Head may not even have heard of it. A very long article in an American magazine described the development, technical specification and racing history of this car, but I wasn't able to lay my hands on it in a brief search just now. The popular view is that it only raced at Indianapolis, but this is not true. From memory it cosisted of a basic upright Kurtis chassis with a second axle casing added to the rear.

Much rarer than the Clancy is a 2-2-2 sprint car. I have a picture of it, but nothing more. Yes, it really does have three axles, one in the centre of the car. No doubt the idea was to get better grip on the dirt surface. But apparently it didn't work as it just faded away. I don't think it was banned out of existence like so many innovative cars. If it didn't work, they didn't need to.

#6 Marcel Schot

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Posted 13 August 2000 - 08:21

Check out this old thread : http://www.atlasf1.c...p?threadid=1075

It's about the same subject

Additionally, Mark Alan Jones wrote this about it in the F1 FAQ back in early 1999:

Williams did produce a 6-wheeler during the 1980/81 off season that had the power being driven through both rear axles (unlike the March 6-wheeler which had the power running though only one of it's two rear axles). Alan Jones tested the car and immediately blew the doors off the lap record. But Before you could say 'whatthehellwasthat', FISA banned four wheel drive.

Source : http://www.atlasf1.c...review/faq.html[p][Edited by Marcel Schot on 08-13-2000]

#7 Racer.Demon

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Posted 14 August 2000 - 00:02

Marcel: John's quoting of Nye solves the question left unanswered in that thread. Namely: is that car (in the picture above) an FW07D or FW08C? And who's driving? When? And where?

It's now safe to say it's Jonathan Palmer testing at Croix-en-Ternois late 1981.

So I was right on all accounts bar the driver. How could I have overlooked JP!

Then again, David Hodges is wrong on all accounts with the words he printed with the very same picture ;)



#8 Marcel Schot

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Posted 14 August 2000 - 06:08

RD, I seriously doubt it's Palmer, unless he's wearing a helmet of either Rosberg or Reutemann. Did he even test for Williams that early? 1981 was the year in which he won the British F3 title, followed in 1982 by a season of F2, after which he got what I believe was his first "test" at Williams, driving a 3rd car at Brands Hatch.

The Williams DB url is http://www.williamsd...TE/INFO/six.htm btw

The FW08D 6 wheeler with Rosberg:
Posted Image

#9 Racer.Demon

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Posted 14 August 2000 - 12:51

I'll give you that it's Keke's helmet (or sort of, anyway, as I said in the other thread), but the car is FW07D. You'll see the difference with the FW08D you posted yourself. (FW07C, which is quoted by the Williams DB as the first six-wheeler, was a regular four-wheel car. If I recollect correctly, it was the skirtless follow-up of the FW07B, and the last of the 'normal' FW07 evolutions and was raced into the 1982 season by Rosberg and Reutemann. On one of these FW07Cs the D-type was based.)

With the sun gracing the track, it should be somewhere in France. My first hunch was Ricard, and this looks very much like the track-shortening twirl right after the start/finish straight (don't really know what Croix-en-T. looks like...).

So we have Nye telling us about Palmer testing FW07D in France late 1981 and Rosberg testing FW08D at Ricard during 1982. That last fact is also underlined by the Williams DB. Then we have Hodges claiming the picture is an FW08 (clearly wrong) testing as late as October 1982 - a date unaccounted for by the other sources. He doesn't mention the driver but if his date is correct it can't be none other than Keke.

It looks like our commanding sources can't make up their minds among themselves, and give us a clear answer.

Could it be Rosberg testing at Ricard during 1982 (maybe earlier in the year) and that the team were running FW07D and FW08D in side-by-side tests?

The mystery continues... So pardon my premature joy :)


#10 Felix Muelas

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Posted 14 August 2000 - 13:09

It is Rosberg.
Now, from memory alone, I do have the impression that I have at home a picture of this car being tested by another driver, probably a week or two before : Jean Pierre Jarier.

Let me check that and I'll be back later.
fm


#11 Marcel Schot

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Posted 14 August 2000 - 13:23

ahhhh Felix, are you trying to make our quest impossible because we couldn't help you with the Cabral case?;) Maybe Didier Pironi tested for Williams once :lol:

Oops...seems this thing is bringing me to the edge of my mind

#12 Racer.Demon

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Posted 14 August 2000 - 20:59

Now that we agree on Rosberg - and we should have a long while ago, so forgive my Palmer frenzy from this afternoon - can we use the sponsorship on the helmet to determine the date?

Now, the usual 1982 Rosberg helmet has a Marlboro logo right above the visor, with Neste on the strip at the top of the visor. This way of sponsorship placing is carried through into 1983 (and 1984), by which time the six-wheel experiment is canned because of the ban on four-wheel drive and 6-wheel cars.

The same helmet lay-out is also visible on the FW08D picture from the Williams DB, which would fit with the mid-season testing at Ricard.

The FW07D on the Nye/Hodges picture posted by John still has the 1981 livery (except for the Leyland decal on the sidepods) and Rosberg's helmet still has its 1981 looks - take a look at Keke's Monaco 1981 picture that Rainer delivered to Forix: http://www.forix.com...81/06020_RN.JPG

With the sun still pretty high above Paul Ricard I think an October '81 date could be a good guess, meaning Hodges accidentally turned '81 into '82. Then again, no word on the FW07 six-wheeler in his book, so it looks more like a plain mistake to me. And October '81 would be too early, wouldn't it? It would be days after Las Vegas and that's when Jones tested the car at Donington. Rosberg wasn't even signed.

If we go by Marcel's post in the old thread, pre-season - or rather in between Kyalami and Brazil, or perhaps even between Brazil and Long Beach - 1982 looks indeed more likely. When exactly did Keke change to the new helmet lay-out? At Monaco he had the new one. Any pictures of the races before that? Still, with the 1981 livery on the car a February date (somewhere in between the big gap between Kyalami and Jacarepagua) would seem logical.

But what are you saying, Felix? "...a week or two before..." Before what? Would this mean that you know the exact date of this test - a question which has been bugging Marcel and me for God knows how long? And the answer of which has been overlooked by Nye and plainly misinterpreted by Hodges all that time?;)
[p][Edited by Racer.Demon on 08-14-2000]

#13 Felix Muelas

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Posted 14 August 2000 - 21:43

OK, OK !!
I was wrong (again), Jarier did not drive the 6 wheeler.
But browsing through the 81-82 interseason testing I came to the following conclussions regarding the 07D (all of them more or less already anticipated by all of you) :

a) I have a first set of pictures of Alan Jones with the O7D in what is Donington. Racer.Demon quotes pre-Vegas as the time, and it might be, although it could also be immediatly after Vegas (end October). The test was supposed to be secret, but Keith Sutton took a whole set of pictures, and they appeared on the magazines of the first week of November 1981.

b) During that same week (Thursday 5 to Saturday 7), Williams takes the 07 six-wheeler to Paul Ricard, and invites Keke Rosberg to drive it. Amazingly enough, the car it's immediatly competitive. Rosberg tests both this car (codenamed 07D) and a 07C. The existing record of Paul Ricard is then on the hands of Alain Prost, that on 26th October 1981 has made a 1:04.5. On Saturday 7th November, Rosberg makes the 07D "fly" recording a 1:04.3 !
The day before, by the way, Jonathan Palmer, that the week before had been testing a Lotus (1:09.4) tried the 07C had made a 1:06.80 but does not drive the six-wheeler.

c) With Alan Jones confirming his retirement and Carlos Reutemann signing his contract on November 17th, Rosberg is confirmed as the second driver for 1982. Sometime around that date, though, Jean Pierre Jarier is invited for a test drive and he drives the 07C. His time is 1:04:79 He does not drive the six-wheeler.

So we have pictures of this car with Jones at Donington and Rosberg at Ricard in two different sessions.
As far as I am aware, nobody else drove the car in that specification on those days...

And then, the FW08-six wheeler is another story. The picture posted is from a test at Donington again, and whilst I am not sure how different the car was form the 07D, it is obvious that it looks like a FW08. I make a guess here -that our Moderator will maybe correct- and think that the O8 six-wheeler might have been chassis 02, the test-team car.

fm





#14 Felix Muelas

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Posted 14 August 2000 - 21:51

Racer (oh, I find so strange to address you by your nick!)

So, if the question is the date of the picture posted above in black and white, it is probably Saturday 7th November 1981.
And by that time, Rosberg had not signed any contract with Williams, it was just a first test, after contacts with Lauda and Watson had failed and Rosberg, Jarier and Palmer were on Williams' (extremelly upset with Jones at the time) shortlist.
:-)
fm


#15 Racer.Demon

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Posted 14 August 2000 - 21:57

Well, I got close :)

But then again, I was even closer a couple of months ago! Late October, early November - there's but a week in it.

Thanks, Felix, for sorting that one out. Some of the history books need re-writing.

And Felix, about that nick: then don't. I feel comfortable with my own name too ;)


#16 Flicker

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Posted 14 August 2000 - 22:06

Dear friends! First of all thanks a lot for Your time and comments...
BTW, as far as concerned the first b/w foto of FW07.... I'm pretty sure that is K.Rosberg at Le Castelle, when he achieved 1:05.4. I have a few other pictures of this test (unfortunately< quite now I have no scanner..but in a few days I prepare it for You).

#17 Marcel Schot

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Posted 15 August 2000 - 05:36

Excellent job Felix. Rises one question for me personally : where do you find interseason '81-'82 testing times?

I've been losing out on so much information, since I only collect magazines since 1995

#18 Felix Muelas

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Posted 15 August 2000 - 07:11

Marcel,

In this case, my source was the weekly italian Autosprint magazine, but around those dates there used to be a special number of the Grand Prix magazine that dealt with the interseason. I assume you should be able to find them in the usual british sources too.
:-)
fm


#19 Leo

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Posted 13 November 2000 - 17:30

Rather than starting a new thread I thought I'd revive this one. Not that I have a question about Williams, but about Sauber. Some people keep telling me there was a Sauber six-wheeler at the Nurburgring some years ago. I can't remember ever having seen pictures of such a car, nor can I find them on the web. Does anyone know if there ever was a Sauber six-wheeler?

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#20 david_martin

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Posted 13 November 2000 - 21:21

I know the Williams questions has been resolved, but that was before I discovered this forum. This is a bit of a pet topic of mine, so here is my two cents worth:

With regards to the first test of the FW07D at Donnington with Alan Jones, I believe it was the last week of October. In an interview in the Australian domestic press I recall him saying that it was what convinced him to retire. After Las Vegas he said he just wanted to go home to Australia and spend some time with his family (a believe Jones' eldest child was born during the 1981 season). He said felt burned out and need a break. Patrick Head insisted that he come straight back to the UK to test the top secret six wheeler. After cooling his heels for a few days he received the call to head up to Donnington and hook up with the team to do the test. Given that the Las Vegas race was on the 17th, that would have to put it in the last week of October 1981.

Jones said it was absolutely freezing cold, so cold it fact the drivers door lock on the borrowed Jaguar he drove up to Donnington to the test had seized in the cold and he had to borrow a thermos from a marshall to pour its hot contents into the lock and unfreeze it. Again that would fit with the weather in Derby at that time of year.

As for Jones, he said that test was the last straw for him - he was sick and tired of the UK weather and the constant grind of winter testing and rang Frank Williams within days and told him he was retiring. Frank was mightily unhappy with Jones - after all of the heartburn regarding Jones' contract for 1981 when the Alfa-Romeo people offered him a sack of cash to drive for them in '81, that Jones' should walk out so abrubtly did not go down well.

#21 Felix Muelas

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Posted 13 November 2000 - 21:48

David

Extremelly interesting apostille to the thread.;)
Thanks for it.
Posted Image
Felix

#22 MoMurray

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Posted 15 November 2000 - 21:35

Not quite on topic but here's an interesting irony. I was just on another website looking at old Autosport covers and there was one with a testing pic of the March six wheeler. And I was reminded of something. I am not 100% sure but didn't Ian Scheckter, brother of Jody do a lot of the testing on the March. If so, it is ironic that one brother scores the only win for a six wheeler (Tyrrell) while the other was an integral part of the development of another. Is there any South African link to the Williams?

Mo

#23 fines

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Posted 15 November 2000 - 21:47

From memory Ian tested the six-wheeler only once, Howden Ganley being the main test driver.

#24 Felix Muelas

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 21:22

Originally posted by Felix Muelas
OK, OK !!
I was wrong (again), Jarier did not drive the 6 wheeler.
.../...
c) With Alan Jones confirming his retirement and Carlos Reutemann signing his contract on November 17th, Rosberg is confirmed as the second driver for 1982. Sometime around that date, though, Jean Pierre Jarier is invited for a test drive and he drives the 07C. His time is 1:04:79 He does not drive the six-wheeler.

Posted Image

#25 Thodore33

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Posted 05 April 2004 - 19:08

According to "amdmodels" Tony Trimmer , with Kéké Rosberg and Jacques Lafitte, tested the version of the Williams FW08B six wheels in 1982.
I have never heard such a thing.
Does anyone have complementary informations ? pictures ? :confused: :confused: :confused:

Thanks

#26 Racer.Demon

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Posted 05 April 2004 - 19:16

There are several pictures in my article on sixwheelers... ;)