Californian Jim Hayes sent this in for ‘You were there”. But there was so much good stuff we had to give his Can-Am era shots three pages…
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Denny Hulme tastes the air, Road Atlanta ’72. He took pole, but crashed out. “A number of cars flipped on the dip in the back straight when the air got under the nose, including Hulme,” says Hayes. “They must have been doing over 180mph — my Alfa 1600 racer would hit 135 there 10 years ago.”
Revson at Road Atlanta in ’72. This may be after retiring his McLaren with ignition failure
Road Atlanta ’70: Hulme returns to the pits after an off in practice. “A lot of the track was still under construction,” recalls Hayes. “That’s the famous Georgia clay you can see there!
Road Atlanta ’70: Peter Revson’s Lola T220 is driven back to the paddock by a crewman.
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George Eaton in the BRM-Chevrolet P154. The Canadian was, says Hayes, “from the second tier of drivers — obviously good but never in a top-tier car. It was ‘how fast do you want to go? How much do you want to spend?’
Chapparal 2J ‘sucker” car driven by Vic Elford at Road Atlanta ’70.”My favourite photos are of the 2J”, affirms Hayes.
George Follmer (second in pic) wins at Road Atlanta in ’72 with Porsche 917K. Jim attended this race as a press snapper for a newspaper, hence use of black-and-white film
USRRC race, Mid-Ohio ’68. Mark Donohue (6) and Lothar Motschenbacher (11) are on the front row in McLaren M6Bs, with Chuck Parsons Lola (10) and Charlie Hayes (McKee-Olds) behind. “USRRC was an SCCA thing that petered out as Can-Am became big,” says Hayes.
Jim Hall — taking second at Laguna Seca in ’67 with Chaparral 2G — had more money that God! says Hayes. “He was supported by GM and at the other end of the scale he was a brilliant engineer. The sport was in a transition from art to science.”
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Donohue continues to win at Mid-Ohio ’68.
Follmer again in the Penske-entered Porsche 917. “Compared to the big-block cars you felt more than you heard,” remembers Hayes. ‘The turbos muffled the thing down and it was amazing to watch how quiet and fast it was. It was unfussy — but so fast it was spooky.”
Roger Penske, for whom Jim worked as a crewman, signals Donohue at Laguna Seca USRRC in ’68: “I was a physicist and an astronomer. Being an astronomer was like being a priest, but instead of a vow of celibacy it was poverty. So I spent time as a hired-gun race-mechanic.”
Orangemen on the march: the McLaren M8Ds of Peter Gethin (nearest camera) and Hulme at Road Atlanta ’70. “Orange became the most feared colour in Can-Am,” chuckles Hayes, “The cars were beautiful and they set the standard of what the Can-Am was all about. Can-Am was the right thing at the right time – there’s been nothing like it in history and never will be.”
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