HISTORIC CARS OF CAN-AM SET TO RETURN TO MOSPORT IN 2008
BOWMANVILLE, ON (October 2, 2007)- Putting the "Can" back in Can-Am, the Vintage Racing Association of Canada (VARAC) and Mosport International Raceway have announced that Mosport's 4 kilometre road course will feature the classic Can-Am sports cars during the 29th Annual VARAC International Vintage Racing Festival, June 20-22, 2008.
The original Canadian American Challenge Cup Series (1966-74) was one of North America's greatest road racing series ever. Can-Am grew from the United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC) for Sports Racing and GT cars formed in 1963 by Tracy Bird, then head of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), in consultation with Jim Hall of USRRC and Chaparral fame. In 1965, the Canadian Automobile Sports Club (CASC) and the SCCA along with the race tracks and promoters recognized the fan appeal of unlimited sports racing cars and created the Can-Am series for 1966. The six-race series opened in Canada at St. Jovite - Mt. Tremblant circuit and soon raced at Mosport, Watkins Glen, Riverside, Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio, Road Atlanta and other great road racing circuits in North America. The series was an instant success.
Mosport went on to host more Can-Am races than any other track. It hosted at least one race every year during the series run (except 1968) and was the scene of many memorable Can-Am battles. These races featured a veritable "who's who" of the biggest names in motorsports history. Drivers from the ranks of sports cars, Formula 1 and NASCAR all competed in Can-Am: Mario Andretti, Jack Brabham, A.J. Foyt, Dan Gurney, Jim Hall, Denny Hulme, Parnelli Jones, Bruce McLaren, Peter Revson, Jody Schecter, Jackie Stewart, John Surtees and the list goes on.
After the original Can-Am series ceased operation following the 1974 season, a newer version of the series, based on a closed-wheel version of Formula A/5000 rules, emerged in 1977. This new generation of Can-Am racing produced a strong following amongst fans and attracted many top road racing teams from North America and around the world. Among the season champions during this era were Jacky Ickx, Alan Jones, Al Unser, Jr. and Canadians Horst Kroll and Jacques Villeneuve (brother of Gilles). The series final season was in 1986.
With the anticipation of Can-Am thunder again rumbling up the Mario Andretti straight, the VARAC Vintage International Festival promises to be one of the highlights of the 2008 Mosport season. The excitement is not limited to Can-Am- the schedule also includes a 50th Anniversary Austin Healey Sprites race, an MG Feature for the Simms Cup, a German Manufacturer's Challenge Race (featuring historic Porsches, BMWs, Audis and others), plus races for all classes of Vintage and Historic Cars. Large fields (50 cars or more) are anticipated for many of these classes according to VARAC officials.
VARAC is working with the Historic Can-Am Association (www.historiccanam.com) on the event. VARAC was formed in 1976 to provide a central organizing body through which Vintage Race enthusiasts could communicate and organize race meetings for eligible Vintage and Historic racing and sports cars. In 2007, VARAC cars and drivers participated in nine events at tracks across Ontario, Quebec and the Northeastern U.S., five of which took place at Mosport.