In the middle of a Formula 1 season that is still delivering on the promises, it is easy to forget that more is happening on the circuits than just races in the premier division. Sports car racing for example. As far as I am concerned, this is a class that, wrongly, does not receive the appreciation it deserves from the general public. Especially if you know its history. One of the nicest chapters is called CanAm.

This represented Canada (Can) and America (Am). It was the sports car class of North America between 1966 and 1986. The most important paragraph in the technical regulation: everything is allowed. This is called formula libre with a nice word. The result was that racing cars appeared on the track like no one had ever seen them and would never again be seen outside the drag race. Keywords: huge roaring V8s, wings of the size camping table and later horsepower numbers that normally only occur in shipping and on the track.

At the start of this golden age, it was the British races and constructors who took the lead. In the front row was a club fled to the United Kingdom, New Zealanders led by Bruce McLaren. The founder of the team that we still know from the Formula 1 built such good sport prototypes that in the early days the CanAm cup (1967-1971) became better known as the Bruce and Denny show. The racing constructor and his friend Denny Hulme won so many times that it became almost annoying.

The race on Road America in 1967 is a good example of that. The two orange racing cars lead the field. It is that Bruce McLaren has to give up with technical problems, but otherwise the McLarens would have driven to an easy one-two. Boring? Look and judge for yourself, but even through the small speakers of a laptop it is good to hear the great roar of the Chevy's that drove the majority of the field. For that reason alone you would like to go back in time to experience that beautiful summer day in '67 itself. And then we are not even talking about big names like John Surtees and Dan Gurney in addition to the Kiwis in their best days.

Road America 1967: httpv: // V = tRlcOnccfgg

A Texan rides in the midfield of this beautiful race. Well hidden; the white car of Jim Hall stands out with its extremely high wing. Chaparral is called the car and that is a free name after its creator and driver Jim Hall. Hall remained a somewhat unknown figure to the European public, but when you see what he invented and introduced you can safely say that he has been an extremely important person in motorsport. He was one of the first to experiment with wings and he was very early with the ground effect. On YouTube you will find plenty about Hall and his creations. For example a moody video about the 2E that the team released in 1966.

Chaparal: httpv: // V = YcIAxk4KApk & feature = fvst

The final highlight of the series was the arrival of the Porsche 917. Not the Le Mans racer as fans in Europe know him, but a spyder variant of it. Because in the crazy CanAm series, the normal 917 would simply have been ground. Especially for the team of Roger Penske and his driver Mark Donohue, the racing department in Weissach put a turbo on the flat 12 cylinder. Result: between the 1100 and 1500 pk depending on the turbo pressure set.

917: httpv: // V = uT6bJeheAN0

The 917-30 was so good and fast that even McLaren could barely resist. Penske and Porsche ruled in the '72 and' 73 seasons. Or as the commentator of the beautiful film says: "They blew the doors of the competition." These days, the monster is on display in the factory museum where it still inspires awe.

Please help us keep this website and the articles on offer free. Subscribe yourself Auto Motor Klassiek and also receive the magazine 12 times a year in the mail. Or donate a desired amount on our payment page via this link. We are certainly grateful for it.

Dear Classic Lover

Enjoy daily free stories about vintage cars in your email and sign up for free. 

Give an answer

The email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

The maximum upload file size: 8 MB. you can upload: image. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

Studebaker, Rover and Wolseley

Special cars