First lap into Riverside's Turn 9 shows the shape of Can-Am 1968, with McLaren leading Hulme in their M8s. Donohue in his year-old McLaren and Hall in the two-year-old Chaparral could only scrap for 3rd place.
Photo: Pete Lyons - www.petelyons.com
Third-time charm! That’s what we Can-Am fans were hoping for 40 Septembers ago. On the first of this month in 1968, our beloved Big Bangers would bellow to life for their third season. Maybe this time the grandly unrestricted sports cars, stunningly powerful and torque-rich machines that were faster than F1s of the day, would achieve their full promise.
Not that the first two seasons had been bad. We watched four different drivers—John Surtees, Dan Gurney, Mark Donohue, and Phil Hill—win the six races of 1966. They did it in two different makes of car (Lola, Chaparral) using two brands of a small-block engine (Chevy, Ford). Some of those races had been very sharp fights, with the novel-winged Chaparral being very fast when it lasted, and McLaren’s team always being a threat.
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