Tyrrell 011 car-by-car histories
The Tyrrell 011 was introduced mid-way through the 1981 season and was used for two years. It provided Tyrrell with the team's last two Grand Prix victories, at Las Vegas in 1982 and Detroit in 1983.
After copying the Lotus 79 to make the Tyrrell 009, and then cloning a Williams FW07 to make the Tyrrell 010, Maurice Philippe used a wider palette for the Tyrrell 011. The car's front suspension was a straight copy of the elegant pull-rod suspension of the Brabham BT49, but the 011 had the full-width front wing of the Williams FW07C. Philippe pointed to his previous experience with pull-rod suspension on the Lotus 72 eleven years earlier, but that was very different to the 011's layout. The tub was made of honeycomb aluminium, Philippe resisting the lure of carbon fibre, and was said to be twice as stiffer as previous Tyrrells. The narrow gearbox developed for the 010 was retained, using a cast magnesium casing with Hewland internals. In other respects, the car followed well-established ground effect layout with the water and oil radiators in the sidepods and fuel in a single cell behind the driver.
When the first 011 appeared at the German Grand Prix in August 1981, it was plain white, with “Tyrrell” in large blue letters on the side. Eddie Cheever’s fifth place on the car’s debut won Tyrrell’s only points of the year. Cheever moved to Ligier for 1982 so his teammate Michele Alboreto was promoted to the No 2 and Slim Borgudd paid to drive the No 2 car. There was still minimal sponsorship. The only time the car did show any sponsorship in 1982 was when Candy and Imola Ceramica signwriting appeared briefly in mid-season, and at the final three races where Denim Musk arrived. During that season, Tyrrell was one of the fastest of the non-turbo teams in practice, together with Williams and McLaren, but a lack of reliability prevented many good finishes. The team’s best result came on the tight street circuit at Las Vegas, where Alboreto qualified third, and when the two turbo Renaults ahead of him hit problems, scored an unexpected but well-deserved win.
New sponsorship from Benetton was secured for 1983, and the 011s were revamped to meet the new “flat bottomed” rules, an attempt by the FIA to put the ground-effect genie back in the bottle. The 1983 011 had much shorter sidepods and heavily revised rear suspension. That version is called the 011 here, although it remained the 011 to Tyrrell. The turbos had pulled even further away from the Cosworth teams, but the lighter and nimbler Tyrrell was at its most competitive on tighter circuits and it was at one of these, the Detroit street circuit, that Alboreto scored the 011’s second victory.
(2 Aug 1981)
(30 Aug 1981)
(6 Jun 1982)
(21 Mar 1982)
(25 Apr 1982)
(29 Aug 1982)
Of six 011s built, two were badly damaged in accidents but survived in some form and only the prototype, which was hacked around as a wind-tunnel test chassis, has been scrapped. The repaired 011/2 went to a sponsor and the team's test car, 011/3, was then retained as a show car. The Detroit GP winner, 011/6, was rebuilt by Tyrrell back to its exact Detroit specification with long sidepods, but 011/4 and 011/5 remained in 1983 '011B' spec. Both race winners were sold to a private owner in New Jersey owner, and the final car, 011/5, to a well-known name in the music industry. The two cars in New Jersey were sold in 1995 and 011/6 entered historic racing in 1996, racing constantly for the next 17 years. It was soon joined by 011/4, which was sold to a German owner who built up 1982-style long sidepods at his home to convert the car to its full ground-effect form. It moved to the US in 2002 and has raced there regularly ever since. The other car, 011/5, spent much of its time at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu in between airings at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It finally moved into Historic F1 in 2015, still in 1983 specification, and was then converted to 1982 specification in early 2016.
Extra Tyrrell 011s
A new car was built in 2019, using some parts left over from 011/5's conversion to 1982 specification. This car was a regular race winner in North America in 2022.
These histories last updated on .