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Can-Am

Group:
National Sports Cars / GT
Description

The Canadian-American Challenge was a road racing championship for Group 7 sports-racing cars that was established in September 1966. Large capacity stock-block engines powered these spectacular cars, with Chevrolet the most popular supplier.

John Surtees won the inaugural series in a Lola T70 after which McLaren Cars dominated – winning 23 consecutive races between 1968 and 1970. Penske Racing's Porsche 917 eventually challenged the McLaren reign with George Follmer prevailing in 1972 and Mark Donohue a year later. However, the series was cancelled in favour of a North American Formula 5000 Championship after Jackie Oliver's Shadow won the 1974 title.

When the F5000 Championship was abandoned, Can Am was reinstated for the 1977 season with rules that led to sports cars based on F5000 chassis and engines. The Carl Haas team initially dominated the new era but Can-Am slipped into obscurity by the mid 1980s, and it was cancelled again after the 1987 season.

Until those final uncompetitive years, the Can-Am Challenge had been a successful series that attracted the world's best drivers to race on North America's finest road courses. Over the years six F1 World Champions (John Surtees, Denny Hulme, Phil Hill, Jackie Stewart, Alan Jones, and Keke Rosberg) all won races.