It’s a forgotten sidenote in the rich history of Formula One. A little fact that I believe should be revealed again. There was a time in 1997 that BAT decided, after they finished their Project de Bono program, to purchase Tyrrell Racing instead of Minardi. In 1998 Tyrrell Racing would be still on the grid. They came with the Tyrrell 025. This same car would appear in the summer of 1998 on the small Pembrey circuit. Why was this so special? Because it were two Tyrrell 025s with Lucky Strike and 555 livery!
As well known BAT purchased the Tyrrell Team from Ken and Bob Tyrrell in 1997. Their plan was to appear with their own team BAR on the grid in 1999. Therefore, BAT needed the rights to appear on the grid. They were to create their own infrastructure and fabric. It meant that the cars, equipment and so on were not need. Paul Stoddart purchased most of the inventory from the Tyrrell team eventually. At that time he already owned a bunch of Tyrrell F1 cars.
It is Paul Stoddart that would help out the BAR team in the summer of 1998. While Ken en Bob Tyrrell retired from the Tyrrell team in February 1998 BAT kept on continuing working on their plan. BAR was working on their first challenger, the BAR01, while the team was getting more and more form.
BAT came with their Formula One program to give their brands Lucky Strike and 555 more publicity. Therefore they came with Project de Bono. If you dig into those plans you will see that they were looking to use two different liveries on their cars. One car would have the Lucky Strike brand and the other car the 555 brand.
Several sketches were made for the liveries. To see which liveries would look the best on television BAT needed to see the liveries in reality while a Formula One car was racing with it. This is the point when Paul Stoddart was asked if he would allow them to use two of his Tyrrell 025 cars to test the liveries. Paul Stoddart agreed on this and allowed the team to use two of his Tyrrell 025 cars.
The test was to happen in all secrecy, there was no announcement of the test. However, people found out that the test would take place. The test would take place in Wales on the Pembrey racing circuit the 10th or 11th of August 1998. The exact date is unsure. Two Tyrrell 025 cars were used for it. However, it is unsure which drivers drove around the circuit. Though I did saw the name of Boullion popping up. Neither are there any times available.
The liveries that were used with the test were eventually used when BAR had their team presentation a few months later. Sadly for BAR the FIA forbid the team to use two different liveries. Therefore, the team came with the zipper livery in 1999.
During the test session, a few photographers around the track took photos of the liveries. However, the security who was around ordered the photographers to delete the photos or confiscated the film rolls. This does not mean that there are no photos of the Tyrrell 025 with Lucky Strike and 555 livery!
In 2000, a former Tyrrell employee named Ed (Worked on the Tyrrell 025, 026) made photos at European Aviation in Ledbury Herefordshire. At that time, it was the European Aviation Euroboss team headquarters. Lots of Tyrrells were stalled there to be driven. In three of the photos, you can see twice the Tyrrell 025 with the 555 livery. In another one you can see the rear part of the other Tyrrell 025 with Lucky Strike livery.