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

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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.

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