The mighty machines of the Can-Am Championship must surely be leading candidates for the title of ‘most awesome racing cars ever built’…
Some forty years ago they put out over 1000 horsepower in their most-developed form and hit speeds of up to 220mph despite aerodynamics that were experimental at best and highly dangerous at worst! They made the Grand Prix F1 cars of the day look tame by comparison.
And even today, the ‘Can-Am thunder’ still rumbles as huge crowds flock to historic race meetings wherever these incredible cars appear.
Porsche, McLaren, Lola and Shadow were the Championship-winning cars, with Chaparral, Bryant Ti22, March, BRM and Ferrari as the challengers. We focus in depth upon all of these as they rumble and roar around tracks like Laguna Seca with its legendary downhill ‘corkscrew’ turn. We even recall the days of the ‘Interserie’ – Europe’s Can-Am equivalent – by filming at the Nurburgring round of the current Orwell Supersports Cup series for historic Can-Am cars.
In making this up-close examination of the mighty machines of the Can-Am, we use a great combination of modern action footage, rare archive film and almost 100 superb pictures from the best photographers of the day.
We hear reminiscences from the three Can-Am champions still with us – John Surtees, George Follmer and Jackie Oliver – as well as from Jim Hall – the designer of the incredible Chaparral ‘fan car’ – and its driver, Vic Elford.
In addition, Hurley Haywood tells us what it was like to wrestle with the mighty turbocharged Porsche 917/10 in the heat of Can-Am competition. He is one of the world’s best-ever sports car drivers with three wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, five in the Daytona 24 Hours and two in the Sebring 12 Hours to his credit!
Finally, Peter Bryant, creator of the successful Bryant Ti22 and Shadow Mk2 cars, recalls what it was like trying to design a 220mph racer without the aid of computers or wind tunnels!
All of this is woven into reminiscences by the world’s acknowledged ‘number one’ Can-Am guru. Author and photographer, Pete Lyons recalls the stories that led to his best-selling books on the series and delves into his photo archives to take us back to the Can-Am era. In this he is joined by another award-winning author and photographer focusing on those awesome days, Dave Friedman.
Up until now the definitive documentary on the cars of the Can-Am has never been made. This is it!
Peter Bryant, Can-Am Challenger – He was a self-taught designer responsible for two of the most successful Can-Am challengers. Here’s the inside story by Peter Bryant.
Pete Lyons Looks Back – Acknowledged as the world’s leading expert on the Can-Am series, Pete Lyons recalls some personal memories from the day.