Formula 5000 was a racing series for open-wheel, single-seater racing cars built to a specific set of rules. The engine of choice was the venerable small block Chevrolet V8 of 5.0 liters displacement. It started as a bright idea in 1967 and ran successfully until politics between the governing body, race organizers, and team owners did it in at the end of the 1976 season.
Although there were four competitive Formula 5000 championships: the Rothmans series in Europe, the Tasman series in Australia and New Zealand, and the Tarmac series in Britain, the heart and soul of Formula 5000 was the North American series. In the early 1970’s it was known as the L and M Championship after title sponsor L and M Tobacco. In 1974, the SCCA and rival governing body USAC joined forces to run Formula 5000. A variety of chassis manufacturers took part, but the car that dominated the later years of the series was the Lola T332. Even though the rules allowed the turbo-charged Offenhauser engine to run, the engine that dominated the series was the Chevrolet 5.0 liter V8 which could put out a reliable 550 bhp and 425 lbs-ft of torque at 8000 rpm. In fact, it would have been an all Chevrolet victory season if not for Jackie Oliver winning two races in a Dodge V8-powered Shadow DN6.