The second-generation Can-Am racers that took the UK by storm
Autosport Plus
National Special feature

The second-generation Can-Am racers that took the UK by storm

By:

When Thundersports was introduced in 1983, few could have predicted that it would bring an army of heavy metal from the United States to British circuits. The awe-inspiring former Can-Am racers became a new domestic flagship category that captivated spectators and drivers alike

For a glorious seven-year period in the 1980s, British race tracks shook under the spectacle of Can-Am cars racing in Thundersports. In its pomp, the series earned support-race slots at Brands Hatch’s British and European grands prix, and as the decade progressed a smattering of second-generation Can-Am monsters set the pace and made a sensational spectacle seldom matched in British racing. The Lola T530, March 827 and March 847 were some of the biggest monsters even seen in action in Britain.

In the late 1960s, the Canadian-American Challenge Cup was racing’s Wild West. The series had few rules – if cars had two seats, enclosed wheels and met some basic safety rules, then they were in. For five seasons, from 1967 to 1971, Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme and Peter Revson dominated for McLaren. Big sponsorship meant big prize money, and it was worth McLaren and Hulme criss-crossing the Atlantic to dovetail Can-Am races into their Formula 1 schedule.

shares
comments

Related video

How Lotus emerged as a period Goodwood force Plus

How Lotus emerged as a period Goodwood force

Colin Chapman’s marque was the most successful across Goodwood’s 71 contemporary era Members’ Meetings, from 1949 to 1966. Many of the future Formula 1 pacesetter's finest creations will be in action during this weekend's 2022 event, attempting to re-live an era when period Lotus was gaining unstoppable momentum

Historics
Apr 8, 2022
How to get the best out of amateur racers Plus

How to get the best out of amateur racers

Pro-Am GT racing is booming. But how should drivers approach working with an amateur? Autosport sought out a panel of experts to explain the pitfalls amateur drivers should avoid and how professionals can help them to achieve their goals

GT
Apr 3, 2022
How Radical revamped its record-breaking flagship model Plus

How Radical revamped its record-breaking flagship model

Just over a year ago, Autosport sampled Radical’s newest offering: the SR10. Now upgraded, it’s clear to see why it’s become the manufacturer’s fastest-selling model

Radical
Jan 16, 2022
The second-generation Can-Am racers that took the UK by storm Plus

The second-generation Can-Am racers that took the UK by storm

When Thundersports was introduced in 1983, few could have predicted that it would bring an army of heavy metal from the United States to British circuits. The awe-inspiring former Can-Am racers became a new domestic flagship category that captivated spectators and drivers alike

National
Jan 14, 2022
The father and son team taking GT racing by storm Plus

The father and son team taking GT racing by storm

GT Cup title winners Richard and Sam Neary emerged as a race-winning force in British GT in 2021. The father-and-son pairing have done it the hard way with their family team – and 19-year-old Sam is only just getting started on a career he hopes will lead to factory opportunities in the near future

National
Jan 9, 2022
Track testing an outgoing stalwart of British motorsport Plus

Track testing an outgoing stalwart of British motorsport

The current GB3 Championship car is due to be replaced next season. Autosport got behind the wheel to discover why it's been a popular machine for drivers making their way up the junior single-seater ladder

National
Dec 15, 2021
Inside the lightweight Czech sportscar making its mark on the UK Plus

Inside the lightweight Czech sportscar making its mark on the UK

Ahead of Praga running its own standalone series in partnership with Britcar, Autosport got behind the wheel of the Czech company’s R1 at Donington – and was left very impressed

National
Dec 5, 2021
How rocket O'Sullivan banished painful memories with GB3 glory Plus

How rocket O'Sullivan banished painful memories with GB3 glory

After missing out on the 2020 British F4 title in astonishing fashion, Zak O'Sullivan was determined to earn his first car racing title stepping up to the BRDC British F3 championship. While the series underwent a mid-year name change to GB3, the Carlin driver was imperious throughout and deservedly claimed the title in his rookie year

National
Dec 1, 2021
The Clio revamp that will boost a hidden club racing gem
Previous article

The Clio revamp that will boost a hidden club racing gem

Next article

How Radical revamped its record-breaking flagship model

How Radical revamped its record-breaking flagship model