Can-Am

History

During the 1960's in the United States, there were many forms of racing. There were drag races, stock cars, midget cars, and the crown jewel of motorsport, the Indy 500. Unlike Europe, race teams had cheap access to large & powerful engines. The Canadian-American Challenge Cup or Can-Am, grew out of taking a big-block Chevy and plopping it on a tube-frame chassis. This 'gearhead' approach to prototype sports car road racing grew from the amature races organized by the sanctioning body, the SCCA. It yielded a series that was uniquely American. Its 'rugged individualist' spirit was a refreshing change from the calculated European teams.

It started out as a high-paying championship that pulled in drivers from other disciplines such as F1, USAC, and Trans-Am series. It evolved into what had the fastest, most powerful cars in racing history.

While it was great fun to have as few rules as possible, the down side is that one car would dominate the whole season. First it was Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme, then it went to the Porsche 917/10, then to Mark Donohue's 917/30. The winner of the races was all but predetermined, so there was little to cheer about. Can-Am folded in 1974.

The Book

I could go on and on repeating the Can-Am stories done over the years. And since I was five years old when I saw my last Can-Am race, I can probably say I have nothing origial to add. But I do distinctly remember the UOP Shadow cars being loud and black.

The thing to do is buy Pete Lyons book simply called "Can-Am".

Diecast

Quality diecast Can-Am cars were unavailable until 1999. Best of Italy put out a few Lola T70's, and then Minichamps followed up with the famous 917/30. There are actually quite a few "period" diecast cars from Solido and Mercury which vary in quality. Be aware that the standards are nowhere near a modern manufacturer's, and you are buying for the "historical relevance" and not the detail.

GMP and Fly

For a while everyone was jumping on the 1:43 Can-Am bandwagon, and Spanish slot-car giant Fly put out some impressive Lola T-70 Spyder boxed verisons. GMP (Georgia Marketing and Productions) also made versions of the Lola T-70 and Mclaren M8A & M8B. This seemed great at first but eventually GMP pulled out and have since cancelled the Mclaren M8D series. Part of their failure was a matter of poor timing, as the Minichamps Versions of the same cars were released almost simultaneously

1966

Surtees Lola

John Surtees ran a works Lola T70 and helped develop the T70MkII .

Mark Donohue Lola

The Penske Donohue car is a special from Ste. Jovite 1966, the first-ever Can-Am Race. Mark was classified dead last after a steering fire? I mean really, how does a steering mechanism catch fire? Must have been a bad day, as he even had to tack on a 1 to make his car number 16.

Incidentally, Ste. Jovite returned to somewhat competitive racing when it hosted a Grand-Am event in 2002.

United States Road Racing Championship 1966

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

Bridgehampton
17Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
George Wintersteen
12
Eagle's Race
2004
Watkins Glen
5Lola T70 Spider
'Bardahl'
Jerry Grant
8
Best
9262

Canadian-American Challenge Cup 1966

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

Ste. Jovite (Round 1)
1Lola T70 Spider
John Surtees
3
Best
9633
GMP
12402a
DNFLola T70 Spider
'Sunoco'
Mark Donohue



16
Best
9214
Best
Wild About Wheels Edition
WAW001
   GMP
('Penske Racing'
Box set)
12401 
Bridgehampton (Round 2)
1Lola T70 Spider
Dan Gurney
30
Best
9189
GMP
12403
Spark
S1147
   Fly
FLY 04
7Lola T70 Spider
Jerry Grant
8
GMP
12404
Laguna Seca (Round 4)
10Lola T70 Spider
Hugh Dibley
53
Best
9512
Riverside (Round 5)
1Lola T70 Spider
John Surtees
7
Best
9176
Spark
S1137
GMP
12402b
Fly
FLY 01
DNFLola T70 Spider
Jackie Stewart
43
Best
9246
DNFLola T70 Spider
Parnelli Jones
98
Best
9179
Las Vegas
1Lola T70 Spider
John Surtees
7
GMP
('Team Surtees'
Box Set)
12402
Test
Lola T70 Spider
John Surtees
Test
GMP
('Team Surtees'
Box Set)
12402

Nassau Speed Weeks 1966

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

Nassau Trophy
1Lola T70 Spider
'Pepsi'
Mark Donohue
7
S+5.0
Best
9454
Best
Special Edition
WAW003
DNFLola T70 Spider
A. J Foyt
83
S+5.0
Best
9292

"I am Lothar of the Hill People"

Lothar Motschenbacher (no relation to Engelbert Humperdink or Rumpelstiltskin) had eneough talent to almost win more races than anyone else amost won. Even Sam Posey.

1967

United States Road Racing Championship 1967

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

Las Vegas
DNSLola T70 Spider
Charlie Kolb
12
O2L
Best
9344

Canadian-American Challenge Cup 1967

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

1McLaren M6A
Bruce McLaren
4
SparkS1110

9

Lola T70 Spider
Roger McCluskey

52

Fly

FLY 03

Laguna Seca
DNFLola T70 Spider
Peter Revson
52
Best
9177
FlyFLY 02
DNFLola T70 Spider
Lothar Motschenbacher
11
Best
9226
Riverside
6Lola T70 Spider
George Follmer
16
Best
9237
DNFLola T70 Spider
Dan Gurney
38
GMP
12405

1968

The mysterious Japan Can-Am Races...

In the late 1960's there were several top-level sports prototype races in Japan, the most important being the annual "Japan GP" for world championship cars. Both Nissan and Toyota had full factory teams for these races. In 1968 and 1969, there were also true Group 7 races that attracted several American Can-Am teams.

These races are very poorly documented, and neither a complete entry nor results list exists.

United States Road Racing Championship 1968

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

Mexico City
1McLaren M6B
Moises Solana
99
Spark
S1113

Canadian-American Challenge Cup 1968

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

Presentation
Ferrari 612 Can-Am
(Aluminum Presentation Version)

Red Line
RL190
Regular Season
1McLaren M8A
Denny Hulme
5
Minichamps
430 684305
GMP
12422
2McLaren M8A
Bruce McLaren
4
Minichamps
430 684304
GMP
12421
3McLaren M6B Chevrolet
Mark Donohue
6
Spark
S1111
Las Vegas (Round 6)
DNFMcLaren M6B
Lothar Motschenbacher
11
Spark
S1112
DNFFerrari 612 Can-Am
Chris Amon
23
Red Line
RL150
Japan Can-Am Fuji 200 (Non-Championship Race)
1McLaren M6B
Peter Revson
52
Spark
S1114

1969

The structure of the series changes greatly in 1969. The USRRC races were absorbed into the Can-Am series, which expanded the schedule.

Bruce rocked all in '69. The NART team ran a one-off race of the 3-litre 312P and did well against far more powerful cars.

Canadian-American Challenge Cup 1969

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

1McLaren M8B Chevrolet
Bruce McLaren
4
Minichamps
530 694304
GMP
12424
   Solido
100 Series
176
2McLaren M8B
Denny Hulme
5
Minichamps
530 694305
GMP
12425
11McLaren M8B
Dan Gurney
1
GMP
12423
Brigehampton
5Ferrari 312
Pedro Rodriguez
12
Best
9180
Edmonton
1Chaparral 2H (High Wing)
John Surtees
7
P
Minichamps
436 691497
Laguna Seca
1Chaparral 2H
John Surtees
7Minichamps
436 691407
Riverside
1Porsche 908
Tony Dean
8Best9201
Japan Can-Am Fuji 200 (Non-Championship Race)
1Toyota 7
Minoru Kawai
8
Ebbro
43713
N/CToyota 7
???
6
Ebbro
43711
N/CToyota 7
???
7
Ebbro
43712

1970

Japanese promises...

Even though the Japan GP was cancelled, the Toyota team upgraded the Model 7 car to twin-turbo power. The plan was for a full assault on the Can-Am series. However, these cars would never race as a series of freak testing crashes took the lives of two drivers. The cars listed here were from a promotional demo run at Fuji.

Canadian-American Challenge Cup 1970

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

1McLaren M8D
Denny Hulme
5
Minichamps
530 704305
GMP
(Unreleased)
12427
2McLaren M8B
Lothar Motschenbacher
11
GMP
12426
3McLaren M8D
Peter Gethin
7
Minichamps
530 704397
7McLaren M8D
Dan Gurney
48
Minichamps
530 704307
GMP
(Unreleased)
12428
11March 707
'STP'
Chris Amon
77
Spark
S1106
Solido
100 Series
199
15McLaren M8B
Oscar Koveleski
54
GMP
12430
Watkins Glen
DNFChaparral 2J
Jackie Stewart
66
P
Minichamps
436 701496
Laguna Seca
DNFChaparral 2J
Vic Elford
66
P
Minichamps
436 701466

1971

Canadian-American Challenge Cup 1971

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

1McLaren M8F
Peter Revson
7
Minichamps
530 714307
2McLaren M8F
Denny Hulme
5
Minichamps
530 714305
5McLaren M8D
Lothar Motschenbacher
11
GMP
(Unreleased)
12429
Ste. Jovite
1Lola T260
Jackie Stewart
1
Lola
S1134
Watkins Glen
3Porsche 917/10
Jo Siffert
20
Porsche
S1171
Laguna Seca
2Lola T260
Jackie Stewart
(Famous 'cow-catcher' front)
1
Lola
S1133
DNFLola T222
Hiroshi Kazato
88
Lola
S1141

1972

Canadian-American Challenge Cup 1972

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

1Porsche 917/10 'L&M'
George Follmer
7
Solido
100 Series
18A
4Porsche 917/10 'L&M'
Mark Donohue
6
Solido
Racing
1944
Watkins Glen
9Porsche 908/2
Tony Dean
68
Best
9065
Mosport
1McLaren M20
Denny Hulme
5
Spark
S1115
Edmonton
1Porsche 917/10
'L&M'
Mark Donahue
6
TSM-Model
TSM144346
Riverside
1Porsche 917/10
'L&M'
George Follmer
7
TSM-Model
TSM144347

1973

Mclaren M20

After the McLaren factory team failed to win the championship in 1972, they left Can-Am and sold all three M20's to private teams.

Canadian-American Challenge Cup 1973

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

1Porsche 917/30
'Sunoco'
Mark Donohue
6
Minichamps
436 736006
Del Prado('World Racing Car Collection')
13Porsche 917/10
'Air Canada'
Hans Wiedmer
4
Verem
(Edition Limit´┐Że)
608
Mosport
1Porsche 917/10
'RC Cola'
Charlie Kemp
23
Minichamps
437 736523
Mid-Ohio
3Porsche 917/10
Hurley Haywood
59
Minichamps
437 736559
Watkins Glen
2Mclaren M20
'Black Label'
David Hobbs
4
Spark
S1117
Laguna Seca
6Lola T260
'Thermo King'
Bob Nagel
17
Spark
S1136
Riverside
DNSMclaren M20
Mario Andretti
96
Spark
S1118

1974

Canadian-American Challenge Cup 1974

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

1Shadow DN4
Jackie Oliver
101
Spark
S1120
Watkins Glen
6Porsche 908 Flunder
Dennis Aase
16
Best
9270

In 1977 it re-emerged as part of the privateer Formula 5000 series. In a unique move, the cars were center-seat open-wheel chassis with bolt-on shells. There were some big names like Bobby Rahal and Jacques Villeneuve (Gilles brother, not son) who took part.