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Saturday, 14 March 2015

Tyrrell P34 – 6 Wheels at Work

Tyrrell Racing was founded by Englishman Ken Tyrrell, who started in racing during the 1950’s.

 As he moved up the ranks with his racing management up to 1969, when he was in charge of racing for the French company Matra, and gave them their sot after World Championship with Jackie Stewart as his driver.

 For 1970, Tyrrell moved into creating their own Grand Prix cars, working with designer Derek Gardner.

Gardner’s designs were solid and in 1971, his Tyrrell 003 brought Sir Jackie Stewart his 2nd Championship win, and the Constructors Championship to Tyrrell.

The Gardner-designed Tyrrell 006 brought sir Jackie his 3rd (and final) Drivers’ Championship.

By the end of 1975, Tyrrell Racing was looking for an edge on the competition, so Gardner took a very unorthodox approach with the 6-wheeled Tyrrell P34.

My collection of P34 diecast toys

© Paul Chenard 2015 (poster available).

The P34 had 4 custom-designed 10-inch-diameter steerable front tires. It was hoped that the smaller tires tucked behind the front fairing would provide less drag than the regular-sized front tires, and the same time provide a larger contact patch, increasing front grip.

Blueprints of the P34 chassis, suspension, and wheel
© and courtesy of Gene Varnier

In it’s unveiling, it created quite a stir in the Formula 1 world, and in it’s first outing at the 1976 Spanish Grand Prix, it showed to be quite competitive.

By it’s 4th race, Tyrrell driver Jody Scheckter took the win of the Swedish Grand Prix, with teammate Patrick Depailler following closely in 2nd place.

Scheckter on his way to winning the Swedish Grand Prix
Pen&ink and markers on 11"x 8.5" blue archival stock.
© Paul Chenard 2015 (original art available).

Though the season continued with both drivers garnering 2nd place finishes, and fastest laps, they never repeated their win, and Tyrrell racing finished 3rd in the Constructors title.

By 1977, Tyrrell developed the P34B, but by then Goodyear had stopped development of the small-diameter tires, and the P34 never found its previous competitive edge.

For 1978, Tyrrell Racing brought out the more conventional 008, which won one race, the Monaco Grand Prix in the hands of Depailler.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

1955 Mille Miglia

2015 marks the anniversary of quite a few significant motor sports milestones … the 50th anniversary Ferrari’s last win at the 24 Heures du Mans, the 50th anniversary of Jim Clark’s win the Formula 1 World Championship, and his win at the Indianapolis 500 (in a green machine!)

Yet I believe the most important by far is the 60th anniversary of Stirling Moss’ along with navigator Denis Jenkinson’s (Jenks) record-breaking win of the 1955 Mille Miglia.

Stirling Moss was part of the powerful Mercedes-Benz motor sports team for 1955, managed by the clever Alfred Neubauer.

They had a fabulous car in the form of the 300 SLR, but that alone did not guarantee success in this annual 1000-mile race held on public roads.

The Italian racers had the advantage of knowing ever inch of the route; Mercedes-Benz had to find a way to equalize the odds.

Moss and Jenks practiced the route a few times weeks before the actual race, with Jenks writing out pace notes all along the way. Mercedes then pasted the notes together into a 15.5-foot roll, which they encased in a glass-fronted, watertight box, permitting Jenks to view and communicate his notes via hand signals to Moss.

Pen&ink, arcrylic and markers on gray archival stock 11.75"x 9" (29.8cm X 22.8cm) © Paul Chenard 2015 
Commissioned piece. Available as a limited edition.

This allowed Moss to drive flat out for the entire race, depending on his trusty navigator for guidance.

They arrived at the finish line in Brescia in a record time of 10 hours 7 minutes 48 seconds, over a half hour ahead of the second-place finisher Juan Manuel Fangio, also racing for Mercedes-Benz.

This amazing record still stands, for the race was shut down following the 1957 Mille Miglia where driver Alfonso de Portago crashed his Scuderia Ferrari 335 S, killing himself, his co-driver (navigator) Edmund Nelson and nine spectators.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

London Classic Car Show 2015

I thought I would start the New Year right by attending the inaugural London Classic Car Show, held at the ExCel Center in the Docklands area of London on January 8th-11th.

My thought was to wander around over the 3 main days and sketch things that I found interesting.

It turns out that finding interesting things was extremely easy!!! The variety and depth of the exhibition was astounding, not to mention the motoring stars who were directly involved.

On the opening evening, I managed to chat with David Coulthard and Adrian Newey, and met James May of Top Gear. I also organized sketching at various stands of the show over the weekend.

Photo © Thierry Boissard

1973 Tyrrell 006 - Original art available © Paul Chenard 2015

On Friday, I was lucky enough to be allowed to sketch at Motor Sport magazine’s Hall of Fame Showcase, where I chose Sir Jackie Stewart’s 1973 Championship-winning Tyrrell 006 as subject. Photographer Thierry Boissard was kind enough to provide a photo of me at work!

My biggest thrill was to actually meet Christianne Ireland, the daughter of one of my racing heroes (Robert McGregor) Innes Ireland. She is wonderful, and it was such an honour to meet her in person. We hope to work together on future projects honouring her dad.

Mark Kehoe photo © Daily Express 2015

1936 Delahaye Type 135 - Original art available © Paul Chenard 2015

On Saturday, I was at the H&H Auctions stand, sketching a lovely 1936 Delahaye Type 135. There was a lot of activity and interest that day, with many spectators stopping by to chat. Photographer Jonathan Jacobs took some great photos of me at work, and then Daily Express press photographer Mark Kehoe came by to take some photos, and we had a lovely chat.

Photos © Jonathan Jacobs 2015

On our tube-ride to the event, we met enthusiast Steve Bush, and struck up an instant friendship (which happens a lot in the classic car world) and he was kind enough to take pics of Anna and I meeting BBC’s Saturday Kitchen star James Martin. James is also a very keen and respected historic racer and was invited to set up “James Martin’s Classic Café” at the show. He was very gracious to us groupies!

Photos © Steve Bush 2015

On Sunday, I was welcomed to the JSW Group (Jim Stokes Workshops) to sketch the re-creation 1955 Lancia D50 that they had on display. The Lancia was nothing short of stunning … JSW Group can only do stunning. Anna and I both had lovely chats with Jim Stokes himself, and he made us feel so very welcome. As I was close to wrapping up the sketch of the Lancia, along came Bernie Ecclestone to check it out! As I was packing up, with the sketches on display, a gentleman returning to his stand stopped to review my fresh Lancia art, and acquired it!

Photo © Steve Bush 2015

1955 Lancia D50 - Original art sold © Paul Chenard 2015

All in all, I consider the London Classic Car Show a not-to-be-missed event, and though I was just a spectator, I was very well received.

Next year, it would be nice to be officially part of it … crossing my fingers!

I would like to extend special thanks to Gerard O’Brien of Motor Sport magazine, Nick Delaney and Paul Lovett of H&H Auctions, and to Brian Farrow and Tim Sanders of JSW Group for having me at their stands.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

1955 British Grand Prix

Sir Stirling Moss started making himself well known in the early 1950’s with his successes in various classes of automotive motorsports.

By 1955, he had caught the eye of the Mercedes-Benz motorsports team director Alfred Neubauer, who quickly signed him on. It was a decision he was not to regret!

For 1954, Mercedes-Benz had developed the Mercedes W196 in both open-wheeled and streamlined versions, and found immediate success. With Juan Manuel Fangio signed on, they took the Formula 1 World Championship.

For the following year, they had both Fangio and Moss signed on racing the W196, and again they took the Championship.

While Fangio took 4 wins out of 7 races Mercedes entered, with Moss following him to second place in two of the races, the tables turned for the British Grand Prix held on July 16th at Aintree.

Moss racing the Mercedes W196 to win the British Grand Prix (my sketch signed by Moss himself!)

Sir Stirling Moss took the pole position and race just ahead of his teammate Fangio. It was Moss’ first Grand Prix win, and the first British Grand Prix win by a British driver.

In 2015, we celebrate the 60th anniversary of this famous win.
Bravo Sir Stirling!!!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Racing History T-shirts

I’ve decided to create a t-shirt line through Zazzle featuring my racing history art.
You can see them at my Zazzle store here:

Here are the first designs …

Thursday, 6 November 2014

A Car For All Seasons

Renowned Canadian artist Tom Forrestall has been painting since the early 1950’s, but he could have never anticipated getting a commission from Mercedes-Benz.

Over 30 years ago, when Tom found success with his art, he invested in a brand new 1980 Mercedes-Benz 300 SD Turbo Diesel, a solid car for his large family.

In 2012, he had his trusty car stored with the O’Regan family, owners of the local Mercedes-Benz dealership. He and his friend Dr. Mary O’Regan discussed what to do about it, and hatched the idea of “A Car For All Seasons”, where he would paint his depiction the 4 seasons directly on his old car, which was still in lovely condition.

Mercedes-Benz Canada embraced the idea, and with approval from the Daimler head office in Stuttgart, they purchased the car and commissioned Tom to paint it.

Tom at work

All the trim was removed from the car, and Tom set to work. It took 5 months for Tom to create his masterpiece. Afterward, the car was varnished in 18 coats of clear varnish, with sanding and polishing between coats. The trim was then reattached.

The final result is nothing short of astounding! The seasons, and the transitions between them, are beautifully depicted, all in vibrant colours.

Interspersed here and there are bits of Mercedes-Benz history, with portraits of Mercedes Jellinek, Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz; there are also representations of the various Mercedes-Benz logos through the ages.

Mercedes Jellinek

Gottlieb Daimler
Karl Benz

I really hope that Daimler will see fit to have this beautiful artwork in their museum so it can be enjoyed.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Wrong Line …

My path in art has been far from straight and unbroken.

I started sketching when I was quite young, and would spend hours and hours at it. I struggled with perspective, and went through a lot of paper.

At the age of 16, at a point where I had a basic sense of sketching, it all came to a sudden shuddering halt … I had discovered the opposite sex, and quickly forgot pencils and paper.

I later started a career as a graphic designer, and other than sketching here and there for my kids as they grew up, I had basically stopped doing art for myself.

32 years passed, and I decided to pick up pencil and paper, sketching out the fascinating stories I was reading of automotive racing history.

I then wanted a bigger challenge, so I moved to pen&ink. I decided to do my very first crosshatched pen&ink sketch, the subject being a Cobra Daytona Coupe. As a graphic designer, I was taught to draw the line where it was meant to be. But as I put that first line to paper, it didn’t go at all where it was planned!

I thought to myself “I’ve ruined it!” At this point, the normal reaction would be to throw it out and start over. Instead, I thought that as it was already ruined, I might as well continue for practice. I put another line down … wrong! … and then another line down … wrong! … and so I kept going.

Tourist Trophy - Goodwood 1964 © Paul Chenard

Before I knew it, I had a lovely crosshatched pen&ink Daytona Cobra Coupe sketch!

It was a real revelation for me, the fact that what I first perceived as a mistake was really just fine, and worth continuing. You can start something without knowing the final result, and let your curiosity lead you through … let the result be a surprise.

I later digitally added colour to the sketch. © Paul Chenard

Later I showed my sketch to an acquaintance, and they said that they could never do something that well, that they would put the lines down wrong! I told them that every line in my sketch was wrong, yet look at the result!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The 2014 Goodwood Revival

Well, this is now the 4th year in a row that my Belgian artist friend Nicolas Cancelier and I get together to go to the Goodwood Revival, but this year was certainly different for us.

We decided not to book a vendor stand, but instead we were invited to join some friends who had their race teams there. This is the first time that I’ve actually managed to take in the event, and it is frankly vast and astounding! The vintage cars, motorcycles, aircraft, and spectators!!!!

Matt and Anne arriving!! © Paul Chenard 2014

My friend Anna, our friends from Vancouver Matt and Anne, and our friend Alan from Shropshire joined us at the townhouse we rent each year on the English coast.

Our gang ... Nico, Matt, Anne, Anna, Alan and moi! 
© Nicolas Cancelier 2014

Matt is actually an official Goodwood Revival photographer, so he was working all weekend at the event.

On Friday, September 12th, Nico and I wandered around getting our bearings and taking photos.

Above photos © Paul Chenard 2014

 For the following days, we wandered around sketching what we found interesting, and tracking down our friends here and there.

Photo © Alan O'Neill 2014

Photo © Nicolas Cancelier 2014

Photo © Ian T. Grainger 2014

Live sketching really attracts the curious, and it was lots of fun to interact with the spectators and answer their questions. It actually led to a few commissions, which are always great.

On Sunday, my dear friend Vicki organized a tour of the track for us in Nick's 1958 Xk150!!!!

In the evening, we would all gather in a great local restaurant like the
Pizza Pasta Pub for great hospitality, food and service, or the Bracklesham Diner for fabulous Chinese cuisine!

Photo © Nicolas Cancelier 2014

We are all looking forward to next year!!!