Known for its “excess is barely adequate” reputation, the Can-Am Series was known for its free-wheeling rule interpretations that brought experiments such as big wings, two engines, ground effects, perfecting turbocharging and liberal use of exotic materials. The only hardened rule was the cars were to be “sports cars,” meaning they had to have room for a passenger. The Golden Anniversary of these over-the-top racers will be a feature race at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion August 18-21 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Officially the Canadian-American Challenge Cup, this August’s field of Lolas, Shadows, McLarens, Porsches and others will take two separate grids of historic cars that competed in the series. The first group is comprised of USRRC and Can-Am cars that raced between 1963 and 1968, while the big bore Can-Am group features racers from 1968 through 1974.
The thundering Can-Am series attracted the world’s finest drivers. Such dignitaries as Mark Donohue, Dan Gurney, George Follmer, Vic Elford, AJ Foyt, Graham Hill, Phil Hill, Denny Hulme, Peter Revson, Bruce McLaren, Mario Andretti, Bob Bondurant, David Hobbs, and Jackie Stewart who all competed in the series. The list of drivers could go on and on.
Both groups will be on track Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. And a special highlight will be a seminar and lively Q&A on Can-Am that will be presented by Victory Lane magazine.
Each year the highlight of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is its featured marque presentation. This year BMW will celebrate its 100th anniversary in remarkable fashion through its paddock display, historic race cars and several surprises that are in the works. It will be a presentation in keeping with the marque’s illustrious racing history.
Rolex is an avid supporter of the internationally acclaimed Monterey Classic Car Week and has been title sponsor of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion since it was renamed in 2010. Every year a driver from each group is selected for their overall excellence in the race and receives a Rolex Award of Excellence. The event’s top honor of a specially engraved 18-karat yellow gold and stainless steel Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona is awarded to the driver who excels in the Spirit of the Weekend. Rolex’s involvement with motorsports runs deep, having been associated with the famed Goodwood Revival since 2004 and, most recently, as a Global Partner and Official Timepiece of Formula 1.
A maximum of 550 historic race cars are being accepted for entry in the 15 race groups that will swell the paddock with rolling automotive history. Each car will be evaluated for its authenticity, race provenance, and documentation that it is period and mechanically correct from when it originally ran. From early pre-war cars like a 1916 National AC and 1927 Bugatti T37A Grand Prix, to the ground-pounding Can-Am cars.