Just as we were about to close for Press news came in of the first Can-Am race in the 1971 series. The opening race at the tricky Mosport Park circuit near Toronto in Canada on June 13th was very much the story as we have come to know it since 1967. Those Gulf orange McLarens notched up yet another victory with Denny Hulme heading home team-mate Peter Revson. Both were driving the latest 1971 McLaren M8Fs with 8.1-litre Chevrolet engines, the latest car being similar to the M8D raced last war. It was one of the ex-works cars in the hands of last year’s Championship runner-up Lothar Motschenbacher, who finished third ahead of Bob Bondurant (M8E), John Gordis (M8C) and Bob Brown (M6B). Thus McLarens filled the first six places.
But it wasn’t quite as easy as that for Jackie Stewart was present with the brand new works Lola T260, sponsored by L & M cigarettes, and run by Lola’s American agent, Carl Haas. In the relatively unsorted car Stewart took pole position and after a slow start passed Hulme to take the lead on lap 10. Hulme hung on to the Lola, which was already trailing smoke, and was not surprised to take the lead again as Stewart’s gearbox seized from lack of oil. From then on it was all easy and Hulme lapped everyone except Revson.
There is no competition this year from March, BRM or Chaparral and we can but hope that Jack Oliver in the new Shadow (which will take part in the second round), the slim possibility of a works Ferrari challenge and the very obvious threat of Stewart in the Lola, will keep the series alive.