German-born John Cordts lived in Sweden during his childhood before settling in North Bay, Ontario, Canada when he was 18 years old. With early competitive experience in ice racing, he was a successful road racer during the mid 1960s.
Canadian champion in 1965 driving a Performance Engineering Corvette, team and driver graduated to Can-Am for its inaugural season in 1966 with a McLaren M1A-Chevrolet. He raced on an occasional basis for the next couple of seasons but he was a regular in 1969. Fourth at Mosport Park and fifth at St Jovite a fortnight later helped clinch 10th in the standings.
Grand Prix debut
His year ended with a one-off Formula 1 opportunity when Cordts drove Paul Seitz’s Brabham BT23B-Climax in the Canadian Grand Prix. He lined up on the last row of the grid and retired with on oil leak after 10 laps.
The Canadian continued in Trans-Am and Can-Am until 1974 and his best result came at the very end of that final season – his Can-Am McLaren M8F second at Elkhart Lake in a 1-2 for the Kaplan team. The series was scrapped for the following season and Cordts withdrew from professional racing.
He later retired in Vancouver where he wrote his autobiography Blood, Sweat and Turnips (2007).