In 1966, a new sportscar racing series began in North America called Can-Am (Can for Canada; Am for America). There were few technical restrictions, engine capacity was unrestricted and apart from every car having to have two seats and bodywork enclosing the wheels, there was a great amount of freedom for designers and constructors. Huge engines of over 1,000 hp meant speeds of over 200 mph could be achieved. Wings were used as well as ground-effect aerodynamics. And has there ever been a better sound to listen to on a race track than a Can-Am car at full speed!
Many famous drivers took part including John Surtees, Jackie Stewart, Phil Hill, Mario Andretti & Dan Gurney. But the outstanding successes of New Zealanders Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme in their McLarens meant that they were given the nickname “The Bruce & Denny Show”.
The McLarens’ dominance was later superseded by Porsche and finally by Shadow, but after eight seasons from 1966 until 1973, Can-Am ended during 1974 as costs rose and spectator numbers fell. Can-Am was replaced by Formula 5000, followed by a second generation of Can-Am races that lasted from 1977 until 1987.