In 1970, John Delane took his wife to the Italian Grand Prix, where they watched Jackie Stewart try out Tyrrell 001 for the first time in a Grand Prix setting. This was the year that Rindt died, and Regazzoni won in a Ferrari. The Italian Grand Prix had a lasting impression on Delane.
It wasn't the first time John Delane had been to a race. While he was growing up, he lived in France with his family, his father a government services contractor. His neighbor offered to take him in the back of their Porsche 356 to Le Mans, to watch Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien win in a Ferrari Testa Rosa. From that time on, Delane had the racing bug.
In 1986, John Delane offered his daughter the choice for her high school graduation gift: flying lessons or racing school with him. They went to racing school. Shortly after, Delane purchased an MGB for the purposes of vintage racing.
Delane spent the next dozen years vintage racing another MGB, a Lotus 18 Formula Junior (much like one that Jimmy Clark began his career in), and eventually, a Lola T400 F5000 car. Then, in 1996, Delane bought a Tyrrell 002, the ex-Cevert USGP winner.
In 2002, Delane planned to take 002 to Europe to run at the tracks it was built for: the Nurburgring, Spa, and Monaco. Delane was joined by Team Tyrrell team-mate John Dimmer in 004. Delane surprised many of the European racers by being quick. American vintage racers are known for being more about the show than the race, so many seasoned European racers took notice when Delane won outright at a TGP meeting at the Nurburgring. Another thing Americans don't tend to do is race in the rain, so he and many of his American friends got the trial by fire, racing their Formula One cars for the first time in the rain-- at Monaco.
About the same time, Delane acquired the original Tyrrell Transporter. The Leyland trucked the Tyrrells across Europe and the UK from 1970 until 1977. The transporter now has a fully restored exterior, with an unrestored interior showing its years, including a drawer that belonged to Mrs. Tyrrell.
As we was over, he managed to land an invitation to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, what is likely the most prestigious historic motor event in the UK. Sir Jackie Stewart was to drive 002 on Sunday. Tyrrell 001, owned by the Tyrrell family, was next to 002, and they warmly welcomed Delane and his enthusiasm for Tyrrell racing.
They approached Delane with the idea that 001 should be more exercised. It was on museum duty at the Donington Collection of Grand Prix cars, and in need of restoration. Delane agreed to restore 001 in turn for the opportunity to race the car, and thus became the last contracted Tyrrell driver.
Delane recently acquired Tyrrell 006, Cevert's 72-73 car, and the car which Stewart took to victory at the South African Grand Prix of 1973. 001 and 006 were present at Goodwood in 2005, where Delane's son, Ryan, drove 006 and Delane drove 001, according to his contract.
The rest is history... and so it continues...