The Roar of Can-Am Racing

All-Out Can-Am Racing became quite the hit when introduced in 1966.

Can-Am Racing started as a race series for “Group 7” sports racers with two races in Canada (CAN) and four races in the United States (Am). The series was sponsored by Johnson Wax. The series was governed by the rules of FIA (International Automobile Federation) with unrestricted engine capacity and few other technical restrictions. Can-Am racing differed from Trans-Am as it raced “Formula Libre” (free formula) allowing a wide variety of types, ages and makes of purpose-built race cars to compete “head-to-head”. This made for interesting matches, and provided the opportunity for some compelling driving performances against superior machinery. The regulations were minimal and permitted unlimited engine sizes, aspiration and un-restricted aerodynamics. Other than two seats, bodywork enclosing the wheels and met basic safety standards, it was an “Anything Goes” policy.

Wild Can Am Racing

Can-Am was dominated by Lola the first year and quickly overtaken by McLaren from 1967-1971. The Porsche 917 was unbeatable in ‘72 and ’73. Shadow dominated the last season before Can-Am was replaced by Formula 5000. The noise and spectacle of Can-Am cars made the series very popular. There are some vintage exhibition racing going on with Can-Am. I had the pleasure of watching some of these vintage racers roar around the streets of Long Beach at a recent Long Beach Grand Prix running. The big block mills shook everyone in the stands as they stood to take notice. The sounds reminded me of watching Mark Donohue, George Follmer, Dan Gurney, Phil Hill and others launch their racing careers in Can-Am. Jim Hall’s #66 Chaparral 2E and 2G’s were always my favorite with the big wing on top and low-slung body. Then of course Hot Wheels made a nice version of it too. The 2E with its Chevy 350 ci engine took one win in Laguna Seca and in 1967 was bumped up with wider tires and a Chevy 427 big block.

Can Am Edmonton 1973

George Follmer

George Follmer is one of the most recognizable names in road racing with his 1968 Trans-Am Red white and Blue #4 AMC Javelin. He won the 1972 Trans-Am championship winning four races in his Javelin and in 1976 driving a Porsche 934 Turbo. In 1972 he also was the Can-Am champ substituting for the injured Mark Donohue in Penske Racing’s Porsche 917/10. He was the only driver to win the Can-Am and Trans-Am championship in the same year. In Can-Am, he collected 6 wins and 13 podiums in a three-year period.

Follmer win can am 1972

The screaming monsters of Can-Am filled the hollows and hills of racetracks all over North America. The sights and sounds of those big-block battlers hit the hearts and souls for generations.


When it comes to road racing many tracks today have noise level rules and we have just the right lightweight mufflers that keep you in good standing and have the performance to win. We are proud to say one of our GT2 sponsored racers; Sterling Cole with the GPR Autosport Mazda ran 1st place this weekend at NHMS and less than on second off the track record! 

GPR Autosport

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