I.S.C. 1997: McLaren M8, Shadow Mk3 & Elfin ME5
After Lola won the inaugural year of the Can-Am series, McLaren took over
for five years. First with the M6A in 1967 and then with the M8 series up to 1971. Because
of the domination of the Can-Am series by the factory team, the series was nicknamed
"the Bruce (McLaren) and Denny (Hulme) show", after the two drivers of the team.
The M8C was the production version of the M8A factory car, which was sold to customers in 1970 while the factory team raced M8D's. McLaren customer cars were always a little behind in development compared to the factory cars.
German Jürgen Weiler did not succeed in bringing this car to the finish.
This M8F of Richard Eyre is one of the top contenders in the I.S.C. and is a
former works car of the factory Can-Am team. Customer cars in 1971 were the M8E models,
which were basically M8D's.
The M8F featured smoother lines than the M8D and rear wing extensions (called "fences") that helped to direct air over the body and the wing. The original car had a Chevrolet V8 with a displacement of 495 cubic inches (about 8,5 litre) and a power output of 740 hp at 6400 rpm.
Richard Eyre finished a strong 3rd in the race.
In the original Can-Am series there were only four factories that won
championships: Lola, McLaren, Porsche and... Shadow. Shadow, far less known than the other
three, won the last original Can-Am championship in 1974.
This Mark 3 however wasn't that successful, it only finished one race in 1972 (in third place, driven by Jackie Oliver). In 1973 this car was replaced by the DN2 car, a bizarre looking car based on the DN1 formula 1 car, which was too heavy to be successful. Finally the DN4, introduced in 1974 and the only new car entered in the series that year, won four of the five races in the championship. Driver Jackie Oliver, one of the founders of the Arrows formula 1 team in later years, became champion.
Nowadays this car is raced by American Kirk Bennett with a big turbo engine in the
back. He did not finish this race however.
From the famous marques to one of the least known: this is the Australian
Elfin ME5, nowadays owned and raced by Dutchman (with a German passport) Harm Lagaay. The
car may be virtually unknown, Harm Lagaay isn't. He is head of Porsche design and drew the
lines of the Porsche Boxster for example.
Elfin was a leading Australian constructor of racing and sports-racing cars that introduced its first car in 1958. The company built about 300 cars in its 25 years of existence. Most notable were their Formula Junior and Formula 3 cars, mainly entered in Australian series. This particular car was a rare excursion into sportscar racing based on a F5000 design of the early seventies.
Harm Lagaay took this car to a creditable 8th place in the race.
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