Swedish rockstar restores Newey's breakthrough Leyton House F1 car


A painstaking ten-year journey has seen Swedish rocker Pär Lindstedt restore the Leyton House CG901B – legendary designer Adrian Newey's breakthrough F1 car

3 Paul Ricard 1990 French GP Leyton House CG901B f1 car

Capelli took an CG901 took an incredible second place at Paul Ricard in 1990 in Newey's CG901

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It’s the 1990 Mexican GP, and things are looking bleak for the Leyton House team. Neither Ivan Capelli and Mauricio Gugelmin had scored a point up to now, before things got a lot worse with neither car qualifying for that weekend’s race.

Two weeks later though, in perhaps the greatest turnaround in F1 history, the pair were leading 1-2 at the French GP with less than half the race to go – the scene of the two turquoise backmarkers heading the field under the beating Mediterranean sun likened to “a hallucination” by Motor Sport’s Denis Jenkinson at the time.

What initiated this was the team’s incredible new car: the Leyton House CG901B, Adrian Newey’s breakthrough F1 machine which Capelli took to within three laps of winning at Paul Ricard and represented a sea-change in GP design.

Though a remarkable win slipped through the team’s fingers, with Gugelmin’s engine blowing and Ferrari’s Alain Prost snatching victory from Capelli, the CG901B became an instant cult classic and landmark machine for Newey.

2 Leyton House CG901B f1 car

CG901B chassis No6 could is now up for sale

Speed Master

The small, nimble, machine was a departure from the turbo beasts which had come previously – its speed was generated through aerodynamically efficiency rather than brute power.

Over 30 years later, one of the ultra-rare remaining chassis’ fate rests in the unlikely hands of Swedish rockstar Pär Lindstedt. Fortunately, he follows in the footsteps of rockstar racing fans such as George Harrison, Eric Clapton and ACDC’s Brian Johnson, and has gone on a worldwide journey lasting over ten years to restore his racing pride and joy: CG901B chassis No6.

Simply described as “special” by Lindstedt, Newey himself told Motor Sport – after testing the another example of the car himself at Silverstone – that it was one of the designs “I’m most proud of. I think it’s fair to say the approach changed the design direction of F1.”

From the archive

Lindstedt is now open to selling chassis No6, one of the cars used in the latter part of 1990, through Speed Master which helped guide its restoration, but he says it will only go to the right person, for the right price. In the meantime he wants to have as much fun driving it as possible.

Lindstedt’s band ‘Keegan’ rubbed shoulders on tour with Iron Maiden and other heavy metal luminaries at its peak in the ‘90s, but the Swede’s passion for racing led him into the ownership of this seminal racing machine.

First campaigning GTs to success at local level in the 2000s, Lindtsedt wanted more – but didn’t quite know what he was letting himself in for.

“I met a racing driver from Sweden in 2012 that had a couple of Formula 1 cars and was interested in my GT2 Porsche,” he says.

“I love innovators like Chapman and Newey, they’re my heroes. So we made the deal, I bought the Leyton House and thought ‘Wow, my team can easily renovate this car.’ Yeah right!”

Realising he might have bitten off more than he could chew in trying to restore a rare grand prix prototype, Lindstedt eventually had to scour the globe for both expertise and physical parts, first heading to one of motor sport’s heartlands.

4 Paul Ricard 1990 French GP Leyton House CG901B f1 car

Car became an isntant cult classic thanks to efforts of Newey, Capelli and co

Getty Images

“I went to the UK and got in contact with Chevron racing, so they started the project, but unfortunately the guy handling the car actually died quite young. Chevron then recommended CGA Race Engineering.

“I realised F1 cars are even more complex than I had imagined! We decided very early on: no compromises. It doesn’t matter what it costs, it has to be perfect. You start to understand that nothing can come off the shelf – everything has to be special, special, special.

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“I didn’t have all the money in the pocket – so it was about finding solutions, finding parts, and also of course financing it.”

As only a few examples of this Leyton House exist, components were at a premium – several times Lindstedt was led down a dead end.

“I was told the engine was fine – bullshit of course. Sometimes you hear about a part, you pay a lot of money for it then realise it’s for the ’89 car or ’91 – not the 1990.

“Something which also really surprised me is the sponsor logos are actually painted on, not decals. So we had to hire an artist from London to redo those – what a trip!”

Though Lindtstedt struggled at times, he had a breakthrough several years ago which led to the 650bhp Leyton House roaring back to life.

Leyton House CG901B f1 car

Leyton House machine is up and running again after ten years of painstaking work

Speed Master

“I met a guy through Ebay who was part of the Leyton House team – he was impressed because I wanted to run the car, not hang bits on my wall,” he says.

“He said: ‘I have a lot of parts. If you promise to bring this car to life, I will sell all of them.’ When March went bankrupt a couple of years after this car was produced, staff had taken everything they could.”

Not only did Pär manage to secure all the parts he needed, but he was also given a box containing 400 March blueprint drawings by the seller – a cherished artefact for a diehard petrolhead like himself.

Covid limited the plan his original plans to drive the CG901B, but, in 2022, he finally managed to run it with a little help from Swedish supercar builder Koenigsegg.

From the archive

“The intention was to do it at their test track and then Anderstorp,” he says.

“At the first test, the whole factory came out to watch us start it up and run it for the first time. 40 people – I couldn’t stall it!

“But I am used to single-seater cars, I’ve driven a few. It was actually super smooth – I was surprised how easy it was to drive. Luckily I could fit in it, the car is so tightly packaged!

“It was brutal, but not super brutal. Obviously there’s a difference between driving fast and super-fast like an elite grand prix guy, but just running an F1 car and enjoying it? I don’t see what’s wrong with that.”

With the chassis No6 now back in the UK, Lindstedt is planning to come over and give it more test drives, whether he sells it or not.

“Life is about passion,” he says. “Anything you want to do – just do it.”