Can Am


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Can Am
Don Packwood Gallery


 
 

Shadow D4NWithout new cars from Porsche, Lola or Mclaren for 1974, the Can-Am series was a Shadow of its former self. Due to the worldwide oil crisis a new fuel economy rules were put in place requiring the cars to get at least 3 mpg. This would force the Porsche powered cars to dial back their boost making a normally expired Chevy competitive again but it was not enough to lure the other factory teams to return.

The Shadow team finally created a sensible race car that actually finished races, the first of which was held at Mosport Park on the 16th of June. Oliver qualified on pole with his teammate next to him. At the preliminary heat both Shadows fought for the lead. The racing between these two seemed a lot more spirited than it ever was between the McLarens, the only issue was there was no other real competition and by the fourth lap they had come upon the backmarkers. Oliver was leading but was balked Follmer grabbed the lead. Follmer pulled away while Oliver had an issue with his fuel system. In the final Follmer was in the lead while Oliver had to start from near the rear of the pack. By lap four Oliver was already up to second, the other cars acting more like moving roadblocks that true competitors. Running over some debris caused Follmer to lose some time in the pits so Oliver who was nursing his car now found himself in the lead. Follmer tore off after Oliver setting lap record after lap record but in the end Oliver was just able to hold off the charging American. Jackie Oliver would lead a Shadow 1-2 with George Follmer coming in 2nd followed by Scooter Patrick driving a McLaren M20 for US Racing in 3rd.

The next race scheduled for Edmonton lost it's promoter and was cancelled. Laguna Seca had also dropped it's October date for a F5000 race instead. The series was now down to six races. Road Atlanta saw Follmer grab pole with Oliver next to him. Oliver took the lead while Follmer needed to pit due to a broken gear-shift linkage. By the end of the heat Follmer came in 5h with Oliver in 1st. In the final race Follmer was in second within the 1st lap followed by the rest of the field more than 7 seconds behind. A broken exhaust doomed Follmer and the race ended with another Shadow 1-2 with Oliver again leading Follmer. 3rd was Can-Am regular Lothar Motschenbacher. A Ferrari 512M driven by Herbert Müller came in 4th. The crowd at Atlanta was an empty 15,000. Can-Am was being abandoned.

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Watkins Glen at least had it's F5000 as well as 6-Hour endurance races to keep their fans interested. Follmer qualified his Shadow on poll with Oliver next to him. On the second row was Scooter Patrick in a Mclaren M20 and John Cordts on a Mclaren M8F. Brian Redman driving the Ferrari 712 in place of Sam Posey was starting from the rear not having set a time during qualifying. In the 20-lap preliminary race on Saturday Follmer lost the lead when a shock absorber broke while Redman charged from the back all the way into second behind Oliver. Patrick and Cordts both suffered engine failures. The race was won by Jackie Oliver while George Follmer came in second having started from the fifth row. Redman suffered a suspension failure of his own while Scooter Patrick finished in 3rd.

1974 Can-AmIt was calculated by Penske that Mid-Ohio was the one track where the new fuel restrictions would still allow their Porsche 917K-30 to be competitive so they asked Brian Redman if he would be interested in doing a one-off. He would be paid $5000 for his efforts. Redman would qualify the Porsche on pole, over 1 sec faster than the next nearest man, George Follmer driving the Shadow. The preliminary heat was run in a light rain and with neither Shadows on rain tires the Porsche ran away from them in the early going. Follmer spun his car and dove into the pits to change tires. Oliver attempted to continue on his dry tyres. The rain eased and the track started to dry but the Porsche held on. In the final race the Porsche and the two Shadows battled for the lead. While battling each other as if they were racing stock cars on a 1-mile oval the two black cars touched and Follmer spun into the grass. Follmer was called into the pit for the team to inspect his car for any damage but Follmer in a fit of pique thinking he was called in for a reprimand got out of his car and stormed off, leaving the circuit in his rental car!. Redman's tires began to overheat and his prior instructions were to drive carefully and not wreck the valuable car so he continued the rest of the race at a reduced pace, finishing 2nd to Jackie Oliver.

Shadow DN4

Road America it was all Shadows, that was until Follmer's half-shaft broke and Oliver's engine blew. The race was won by a shocked Scooter Patrick followed by John Cordts in 2nd and John Gunn in 3rd. The next day there was a meeting promoters and SCCA officials in Chicago. The final round at Riverside was cancelled and the Canadian - American Challenge Cup was cancelled after five races. Though there was talk of the series continuing into 1975, nothing came of it and the dream was over.

1974 Canadian - American Challenge Cup
         
1 Jackie Oliver Phoenix Racing Organizations Shadow D4N 82
2 George Follmer Phoenix Racing Organizations Shadow D4N 45
3 Scooter Patrick U.S. Racing McLaren M20 44
4 Bob Nagel Nagel Racing Lola T260 40
5 John Gunn Racing Specialties Lola T260 23
6 Lothar Motschenbacher Motschenbacher Racing McLaren M8F 21