Denny Hulme scored the maiden Can-Am victory for McLaren Cars at Elkhart Lake in 1967. He scored its last, too, at Watkins Glen in 1972. Between these lay 46 races: works McLarens won 39 of them. Thrice they were was beaten by Lolas (driven by F1 champions) and twice by Porsche (one a fluke, the other a sign of the times). The other ‘missing’ wins were scooped up by McLaren privateers.
Its M1B had gone without a win in 1966, but everything changed with M6A in ’67. Hulme scored the first of his 22 Can-Am wins and poles and 26 fastest laps, while just one win and a pole went begging all year as team boss Bruce McLaren pipped him to the title.
McLaren swept the board in 1968: six rounds, six poles, six fastest laps, six wins. Two of the latter were by privateers: John Cannon (M1B) and Mark Donohue (M6B). This time Denny was champion.
The series expanded to 11 rounds in 1969. Bruce and Denny won every one with M8B. Bruce was champion for a second time.
The team’s greatest year, however, was 1970, rallying after Bruce’s death to score nine wins from 10 rounds. Denny took his second title.
The New Zealander was the fastest man in the place in 1971, but team-mate Peter Revson outscored him five wins to three to take the title.
Hulme was still on the pace at the start of 1972 — two wins in the first three races — but Porsche had arrived with its turbo car and mopped up thereafter, barring a lucky win for Francois Cevert’s privateer M8F.