Can-Am: Freedom at its finest

This category came to rival Formula 1 thanks to a regulation with few restrictions.


Between 1966 and 1986 there was a category that was as important as the very same F1 and that was also synonymous with technology and speed: The Canadian-American Challenge Cup, better known as Can-Am.

This championship was supervised by the Canadian Automobile Sport Clubs and Sports Car Club of America and had a calendar that allowed the stars of F.1 to test their talent on the tremendous sport prototypes that met the homologation Group 7 of International Automobile Federation.

Bruce mclarenIts regulations had minimal limitations. Allowed chassis with virtually unrestricted aerodynamics and built with exotic materials, such as titanium. Could be used engines of any displacement who were close to the 700 horses, much more than F.1.

Such were the freedoms in motorization that Penske developed an impeller with two turbos that exceeded 1.000 horses; while at some point there were engines that delivered 1.500 horses in sort mode ...

The technical challenge proposed by the Can-Am not only excited the American teams, but also European teams and manufacturers such as Porsche, LolaMcLaren, who were the most successful.

Even Ferrari developed a vehicle to run in this series: the Ferrari 712 Can Am, equipped with the largest engine ever built in Maranello: a 7-liter 12-cylinder engine 680 horses who tried, unsuccessfully, to beat the Chevrolet 8-liter V8.

Can-AmAnother great attraction were the high economic prizes. In fact, McLaren used the money earned in the Can-Am to finance their participation in the F.1 World Championship.

The apogee of this division was between 1966 and 1974, before the energy crisis of the early 1970s forced its organizers to rethink because of its high costs.

That golden era of Can-Am had the English as champions John Surtees y Jackie Oliver, New Zealanders Bruce mclaren y Denny Hulme and the Americans Peter revson, George Follmer y Mark Donohue.

Can-AmThe second stage of the category was not so brilliant. It ran from 1977 to 1986 and emerged as a continuation of the Formula 5000 American, a single-seater championship that had disappeared in 1976. Precisely, the cars were based on the Formula 5000, although with sports prototype bodies.

During those first years, this renewed Can-Am also seduced the F.1 pilots as Alan Jones, Jacky Ickx y Patrick Tambay, who were his first champions.

The championship finally ended after the 1986 season, when the teams and drivers moved on to the championship. IMSA GT.

Although the Can-Am disappeared years ago it is still fondly remembered for being that category in which freedom had no limits.

CAN-AM CHAMPIONS

YEAR PILOT TEAM CAR
1966 John Surtees

(ING)

Team Surtees Lola T70-Chevrolet
1967 Bruce McLaren (NZL) Bruce McLaren Motor Racing McLaren M6A-Chevrolet
1968 Denny Hulme (NZL) Bruce McLaren Motor Racing McLaren M8A-Chevrolet
1969 Bruce McLaren (NZL) Bruce McLaren Motor Racing McLaren M8B-Chevrolet
1970 Denny Hulme (NZL) Bruce McLaren Motor Racing McLaren M8D-Chevrolet
1971 Peter Revson (USA) Bruce McLaren Motor Racing McLaren M8F-Chevrolet
1972 George Follmer (USA) Penske Racing Porsche 917 / 10
1973 Mark Donohue (USA) Penske Racing Porsche 917 / 30KL
1974 Jackie Oliver (ING) Shadow Racing Cars Shadow DN4A-Chevrolet
1975-1976 Not disputed
1977 Patrick Tambay (FRA) Haas-Hall Racing Lola T333CS-Chevrolet
1978 Alan Jones (AUS) Haas-Hall Racing Lola T333CS-Chevrolet
1979 Jacky Ickx (BEL) Carl Haas Racing Lola T333CS-Chevrolet
1980 Patrick Tambay (FRA) Carl Haas Racing Lola T530-Chevrolet
1981 Geoff Brabham (AUS) Team VDS Lola T530-Chevrolet / VDS 001-Chevrolet
1982 Al Unser Jr. (USA) Galles Racing Frissbee GR3-Chevrolet
1983 Jacques Villeneuve Sr. (CAN) Canadian tire Frissbee GR3-Chevrolet
1984 Michael Roe (ITA) Norwood / Walker VDS 002-Chevrolet / VDS 004-Chevrolet
1985 Rick Miaskiewicz (USA) Mosquito Autosport Frissbee GR3-Chevrolet
1986 Horst Kroll (CAN) Kroll Racing Frissbee KR3-Chevrolet
1987 Bill Tempero (USA) Texas American Racing Team March 85C-Chevrolet

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Diego durruty

Journalist with 30 years of experience. Worked in magazines STROKE, The graphic, Coequipier y Only TC, on the Internet sites SportsYa!, e-driver.com y kmcero.com and on the radios Rock pop y Vorterix.com. He covered the Dakar rally for the German agency dpa. He currently drives Two Daring Guys, a car magazine that is broadcast on Tuesdays from 18 to 19 by RadioArroba.com; is editor of motorsport in Red Bull Argentina, columnist on the show WorldSport (AM Splendid) and in Surf & Rock FM.  He is also a teacher in SPORTS. Now you can read it on his blog: automundo.com.ar.

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