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Tyrrell P34 replica cockpit

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Hi guys!

This is my WIP cockpit.

It is a 1:1 replica of a Tyrrell P34 6-wheeler tub, as true a copy as I could manage.


Here’s the dealio.


For a long time I’ve had a desire to build the ultimate simracing cockpit.
I started simracing 14 years ago, moving from games to sims over the years and upgrading my hardware along the way. My first hardware mod was to stick two buttons onto the wheel of my Thrustmaster T2. Back in 2003 I designed and built my own H-shifter in a primordial attempt to enhance realism in my sims. It was quite a success, and an obsession with simracing hardware was born!
Five years ago I built an aluminium raceframe to house my new controls: Logitech G25, custom 3-pedal set with 50KG load cell and a new, custom shifter. The pedal set and all steel shifter were designed by a friend, engineer and simracer Niels Heusinkveld.
I placed the unit in front of a projector screen and established simracing heaven.

While the rig was pretty sweet, I was constantly looking for ways to improve it as I found that working on the rig was almost as much fun as driving it! You know how it is..
Much of my efforts went into creating ever more realistic parameters to work with; more pressure on the brakes, realistic wheel rotation and FF settings, even reversing the H-pattern assignments to better emulate the ZF gearbox on the Lotus 49.
My efforts to achieve maximum realism soon revealed flaws in the raceframe I was using.
50KG on the brake pedal began to weaken the structure, even bending the 28mm MDF base plate! I was looking to increase the brake pressure (GTP cars often required up to 120KG!)
and this frame just wouldn’t cut it anymore. Besides, the €100 ‘racing ‘ seat proved rather uncomfortable and highly unsuitable for endurance efforts.
It was time to get serious.

I decided to get REALLY serious.


Fall 2008 I started researching what I felt was the perfect simracing cockpit: a Tyrrell P34 tub! The iconic 6-wheeler from one of the coolest teams and driven by one of the coolest drivers (Depailler), as featured in one of the coolest onboards ever:

In this endeavour, there would be no compromise. Every single detail was to be perfect.
Talk about setting yourself a challenge :)
It would involve building the tub, the seat, A-frame, new pedals and a new shifter.
All would have to be made using the correct materials:
Steel subframe, pedals and A-frame, aluminium tub and fibreglass seat.
You must know that I didn’t even know how to weld at this point! But, I had always wanted to learn and this was the perfect opportunity! Again with the challenges :P

First things first: I converted the bike shed into a DIY heaven. Isolated the walls and floor, threw in laminated floor boards and built wall to wall working surfaces. Dismantled all old electrics, installed fresh ones and added heating, gas-extraction and, of course, a PC with 5.1 sound, Internet and all available P34 reference material.
I threw away all old tools and bought everything new.
Ready to roll!


I literally started from scratch:


Basically, whatever I could find on Google image search was all the reference material I had.
Nevertheless, I thought I had a good grasp on the various dimensions.
Most of the dimensions were derived from the following picture:


I assumed the steering rod was 20mm and Depailler’s shoe was 100mm in width, loaded the picture into Photoshop and worked from there.

Soon after, I started modelling the seat.
I had extensive experience with fibreglass, but nothing this big.
Here goes nothing :D

First, I built a fibreboard enclosure with the correct seating angle.
I filled it with construction foam, covered it with plastic and then sat in it while it hardened.

It was a disaster!

Do not skimp out like me but buy a decent seat molding kit rather than messing around with PUR foam.
However, I decided to use this monstrocity as a plug for the mold.
It wasn’t pretty.

After a lot of work, adding sides and shoulder supports and levelling/smoothing with lots of filler, my mold was complete!

I applied gelcoat and fiberglass and an hour later my seat was born!
It was a beauty! To my surprise, the seat was perfect on the first try. Truly 100%.

Now it was time to start welding the steel subframe.
As said, I had never welded anything in my life. I just bought a stick welder, a mountain of steel and gave it my best shot. How hard can it be?
The answer: pretty hard, but not impossible to master.
After a bit of practice, I felt confident I could handle the frame.
Within no-time, I had a basic frame.



Then came Goodwood 2010. This year marked my 6th visit to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It was to provide an absolute breakthrough in the Tyrrell project.

Early 2010, Roger Wills got the opportunity to obtain ownership of a very special racecar: Tyrrell P34/2, the 6-wheeler chassis raced by Depailler in 1976 and shortly into 1977..
This is the most authentic P34 in existence, literally living out it’s retirement in the Donington Collection in the exact same shape it was put there in 1977. But Roger had other plans for this beauty. He bought the car and after making sure it ran (which amazingly it did after a few splashes of fuel and a couple of coughs), he took it to FOS 2010.
There, the WDK guys were working constantly to get the car in good enough shape to run each of it’s runs. It sat in the paddock all day every day with all it’s covers off, for everyone to admire. For mé to admire!

By some form of miracle, I’d brought along a measuring tool and over 100 shades of blue, just to be ready in case a P34 should make an appearance. The responsible mechanic, although he probably thought I was a bit off, kindly allowed me to take all the pictures and measurements I wanted. It was an amazing opportunity for me to learn everything about this fantastic race car.
Just as amazing, by the way, was the fact that nearly all the measurements I had gestimated using old photographs and Photoshop proved to be accurate to within half an inch! Only the A-frame deviated more, being a whole inch shorter than I had thought. Imagine my delight!
This torrent of first-hand intel reinforced both my ability to build a more genuine replica and my desire to do just that: to build thé perfect replica!


Back from Goodwood I set about creating a very recognisable part of the P34: the A-frame that holds the steering wheel, steering rod, shifter and switches. This is a complicated part and hard to duplicate as it is rounded and tilted. It looks different from every angle!
After a few trials I felt I had found the correct shape. The company that provides my steel agreed to bend the 1” steel tubes for me, the only part of the job I was unable to perform myself. I did micromanage the operation though, and the result couldn’t have been better.
See this lay-over comparison:

With the basic A-frame and seat in place, the frame finally started to look like a P34.

After completing the steering assembly, I came to the sad conclusion that the G25 had significant trouble getting up to speed with the ball bearings and u-joint thrown into the equation.
For a project like this, only the best is good enough of course. That is why I have called in a few favours and have managed to order one of Leo Bodnar's FF wheels not normally available.
It is basically a CNC mill motor which Leo has converted to a 1080deg 300W powered FF wheel. Nothing comes close. Nothing.


The time came for me to really prove my worth: welding the pedals!
Had I previously discarded the P34’s intricate pedals as too complicated for the rookie welder I still was, the success of the other parts urged me to carry on my pursuit of perfection.
The welding I had done on the subframe and A-frame yielded much experience and I had a lot of fun building all three pedals one by one. At random, I started with the clutch, then moved on to the brake and saved the throttle for last. All are constructed from steel tube and many small steel strips making up the pedal heads. The brake pedal head for instance consists of eight bits of steel, all individually shaped and welded together under precise angles.

All pedals have ball bearing fittings and the brake pedal has a faux brake balancer.
I’m very proud of this pedal set as it turned out very nice indeed.


All pedals will interface with the PC via load cells. The brake has got a 200KG load cell calibrated to about half that and the clutch and throttle have 5KG load cells attached via springs. The clutch features a very stiff preloaded spring which is detachable as a whole unit.
Both clutch and brake pedal are position-adjustable by altering the length of their pushrods.
The throttle has an otherwise variable stop and has a throttle cable running back through the tub to the load cell behind the seat.


With the steering and pedals sorted, one more element was still to be realised: the gear lever.
I saved the hardest for last; it was quite a challenge to emulate the P34’s gateless shifter by copying it’s looks and mechanics. Playtime was over, this thing had to look and work like the real thing. It had to bé real!

A few uninspiring prototypes came and went before the ever present subconscious process spontaneously spawned the final design. The experience gained throughout the whole project made work on the shifter a joy and the result is something to behold if I do say so myself.

More importantly, the shifter’s action is very positive and ultra smooth. There is no better!

The all-steel H-shifter I’ve been using over the past years is now bolted behind the seat, attached to the new lever via the stainless tube in accordance with the design on the real car.
The P34 has a reversed 5-speed gearbox, with reverse in the position normally associated with 1st gear, 1st gear opposite that and 2nd to 5th in a convenient H-pattern.
My shifter allows that configuration, though there is also a 7th gate in case I have to use 6 forward gears on cars that have them.


Time to revert attention back to the tub itself. Basically, it was still just a subframe at this point. My subframe is more extensive than the real one, because that one has a tub made from very thick aluminium which I cannot bend in the shed. My extended subframe allows me to use thinner alu which I can shape at my own leisure. This was the next step.
I devised a method of bending aluminium plates in the shed without damaging them. The required precision of this task meant I spent a lot of time getting it right in one attempt, mainly because the base material costs €25 per unit of 1000x500mm and I need at least 10 of those.

At this time, the inner tub is done. The outer skin will come last, so the exposed frame gives me something to grasp while I’m still working on it. The footwell bulkhead and various other cross-sections are due next. Adding the aluminium has given the whole unit a nice, solid look and feel. Just like it’s supposed to be. The pedals and foot rest are in and they look awesome.


To achieve total believability, the addition of Tyrrell blue bodywork is a must.
While the original cowling will not be a feature of this replica (as it was inspired by the onboard video showing the car without the bodywork), only the right shade of blue will make it recognisable as a Tyrrell. Remember how I brought those 100+ samples to Goodwood just in case? Well, it allowed me to determine the correct shade of blue. In every photograph, the colour of the Tyrrells looks different, so this hands-on approach was absolutely crucial.
I meticulously recreated the blue top plate that strectches all around the tub and the end result is a very cool piece of kit that really looks as though it came from the Tyrrell factory.
It gives the whole cockpit a truly authentic look.




That was a small overview of my ambitious project. It is still a WIP of course, some bodywork is still not done and for now you have to imagine it with the seat painted blue :D

I hope you guys like it :)

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I have to say that this is one of the best home made rigs I have ever seen. The work you have done is .. is... is.. I can't find the words. And the icing on the cake, you got your hands on a Leo Bodnar wheel. Add some motion to that frame and you would never have the need to go out on a real track, I think it would be more fun at home and less deadly.

Amazing job man. 4 thumbs up (got my wife to agree, this is good stuff)

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Wow that is amazing man, seriously cool!

also you picked one of the coolest F1-cars ever to replicate, so even cooler thanks to that :-)

respect for all the work as well!

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I will put as simple as I can because after seeing this rig I am speechless. That is the coolest rig I have ever seen.

It is a giant scale model of remarkable realism and yet you will be able to drive it. WOW!!!

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Thanks everyone for your kind remarks!

It's great to see how you all dig my rig :)

Here's another pic that I wanted to post earlier but couldn't find. It's the bodywork I spoke of in the last paragraph. Might as well be from a Tyrrell if you ask me :D

Sometimes I think I'm taking this realism in sims thing too far..

Since this rig is so strictly '1977 technology' it has no buttons or flappy padles on the wheel.

The G25 wheel seen in the pics is just a placeholder so I don't damage my Sparco 270ln before the tub is even done.


No sequential means no iRacing it seems, since that will not allow the use of an H-shifter in cars that have sequential boxes...

There will also be issues with the endurance races I like to run. We used to all come together at my place and hotseat during 6, 8, 12 and even 24H races. Thing is, all my team mates are a foot and a stone larger than me so they won't fit into the P34 lengthwise or sideways!

This surely will not be a motion sim. That's a cool looking gimmick but the technology is always laggy and way off in the forces it delivers. It can only send you the wrong feedback which cannot be what you want. Just IMO :P

As for the screen, I've got a FullHD projector giving me a 1920x1080 80" image. The screen is placed nearly at ground level so the road is shown where is should be. The sheer size of the screen makes you look down at the road, sideways to check the mirrors and up to watch the treetops rush past...

I'd say I've got that covered :)

OK I've just been told my 5 minutes of bragging are over. I will post updates as I finish the rest of the bodywork.

Later dawgs :mrgreen:

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Positively beautiful. AND look at your new skills! ZOWIE! You mentioned not skemping on a "seat molding kit". I have a Royale RP9 Super Vee chassis on its way to becoming a sim-rig. Did you find any vendors for such a kit? Thank you. (I tried to update a pic of my project but the server didn't like it.)

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Thanks guys!

Positively beautiful. AND look at your new skills! ZOWIE! You mentioned not skemping on a "seat molding kit". I have a Royale RP9 Super Vee chassis on its way to becoming a sim-rig. Did you find any vendors for such a kit? Thank you. (I tried to update a pic of my project but the server didn't like it.)

What you need to look for is A+B Foam Kits or AB foam for short.

Here's how you go about it: ... cle&sid=40

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Today, I finished the seat! What a milestone 8-)

The seat's all done now, secured to the frame and I even managed to get the first coat of paint onto it.

It came out better than I could have hoped. Sometimes, I amaze even myself :mrgreen:

Also shown is the finished lateral support bracket, still needs to be fastened though.

I also created and installed a little drain in the bottom of the tub. I don't exactly need it but the real car has it so mine does too!

It's been a good week :D

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With great pride I held a semi-formal presentation party yesterday, celebrating both my 36th birthday and the completion of the P34.

Some work is still to be done, like the FFB motor and other electronics, but it is 99% complete and deemed ready to be revealed to the public.

Here, a few of my good simracing buddies are checking it out:

L to R: Niels Heusinkveld (niels_at_home), Monique (Ronnie's GF), Ronnie Zeemering, myself, Barry K (4ph3x)

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Thank you, thank you :)

Funny really, I thought there'd be more comments about my Elf Team Tyrrell jacket! ;)

There's advancement in the projection field as well. Turns out there's this company that offers 3mm sheets of white PVC cut to order for use as projection screen. That's exactly what I've been looking for!

At the moment I'm using a standard pull-down screen just beyond my pedal base, but that will give POV issues with the new rig which extends quite a bit beyond the pedals. I planning to order me a PVC screen cut out to fit over the P34 at the knees. That will provide insane immersion as the cockpit blends into the scene completely :)

Here are some more shots taken with a better camera.

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Incredible Piece of ver hard work Remco :ugeek:

For the PVC you could take a look to Wilsonart Designer White Laminate wich was measured in forums like Hometheatershack and fullfill the demands of videophiles, its very economical compared to what projection companies charge for their screens ;) ... ation.html

Your closest source would be germany ... tabase_pi1[decor]=50&tx_resopaldecordatabase_pi1[action]=show&tx_resopaldecordatabase_pi1[controller]=Decor&cHash=e769a45ca1111a8cf45c2fa491bd4433&PHPSESSID=e70e1ae63dc168600d146a37c3a4810a

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Today, I built a new screen to go around the cockpit, rather than the old one which was placed way beyond the pedals.

It's a messy test version, but the concept is showing a lot of promise.

Still need to overcome a few issues and increase the size of the image.

This is my old rig, not the Tyrrell yet.


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