Can Am Convention

The Can Am series, or Canadian American Cup to give it it’s full name, was a race series for sports racing cars which ran across North America from 1966.

McLaren M12 Loton Park

 

It was effectively a Formula Libre competition for sportscars and had a very liberal rulebook which encouraged massive chassis, engine and aero development.

McLaren Cars boss Bruce McLaren took Can Am very seriously (it was a very lucrative series to be succesful in), and diverted resources from the F1 program to create a series of ever more brutal stock block V8 sport racers for Can Am.

Probably the most succesful McLaren sportscar was the M8, which in various evolutions won the Can Am series every year from 1968 until 1971 with Denny Hulme, Peter Revson & Bruce himself driving.

The M12 Can Am car was a variant of the M8 range which was designed for sale as a customer car to support privateers both in the US and in Europe. The entire production run of the M12 was built by Trojan Cars under license from McLaren, and the final M12 even became the basis for the stunning McLaren M6GT road car program.

McLaren M12 Loton Park

 

Hillclimber Phil Scragg ordered a new M12 for 1969 and specified that it be fitted with narrower M6 style bodywork to make it more manageable on the UK hills. This car has been hillclimbing all of its life and continues to be used at events all over the country by George Tatham.

McLaren M12 Loton Park

 

At Loton Park at the end of September we were treated to the sight of two of these wonderful cars on the hill as Rupert Marks joined Tatham in the Pre-71 Sportscar class with his road-registered* M12.

Marks was pushing much harder than Tatham all weekend and took a comfortable win as the McLarens had the class to themselves.

It was great to see these stunning beasts on the tight confines of the hill, and we look forward to more appearances in 2013.

*= Interestingly the Marks M12 features the registration number of the original prototype M6GT, although the original car is in the Matthews Collection in Colorado.

McLaren M12 Loton Park

 

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