Once again the Canadian Grand Prix was for sports cars and was held at the Toronto circuit of Mosport. There were five main contenders in this year’s race, the new Lola 70s driven by Surtees and Stewart, the Chaparral of Jim Hall, the new, shorter, lighter McLaren, the new Ford XI to be driven by Amon, and the N.A.R.T. 4.4 Ferrari for Rodriguez.
With a field of this nature all Should have been set for a very good race, but the meeting was marred by an accident and certain organisational mix-ups. Firstly, Surtees, who was the fastest .qualifier, was trying different tyres and attempting to get down to Hall’s unofficial fast laps of around 1 min. 26 sec. when the left-hand upright casting snapped on a fast right-hand corner. The car, out of control, hit the outer bank and rolled over into a 35-ft. deep culvert on the other side. Surtees was trapped under the car, which fortunately did not catch tire. His injuries, although severe, will not keep him away from the driving seat indefinitely.
As the castings on Stewart’s car were the same, it was decided to withdraw this until they could be tested. This left only four main contenders. Of these, the Ford retired early when the alternator belt was cut by the timing needle when it flew off. Rodriguez was outclassed from the start, though the Ferrari may have been running when all the other hot sports machinery had stopped; in a short race it was out of the running.
McLaren led from the first lap pulling out a quick 30-second lead, while Hall, who had no qualifying time, started front the back and forged his way through the tail-enders. Two cars had minor engine fires, and as there seemed to be no fire extinguishers that worked (when they did work they were quite inadequate), these small fires developed until the cars, a McLaren Elva and an Elva-B.M.W., gutted themselves, which took well over half-an hour. As if this was not enough, the assistant starter got himself run over, a photographer leapt in front of a car coming into the pits, and a pit marshal fell over fracturing his elbow ? All three were hospital cases.
The battle for the lead was not. affected by these mishaps and even the dense smoke which lay over the track.didn’t slow the two leaders up. Relentlessly, Hall began to overhaul the McLaren, and as he got closer the Canadian crowd got more excited, for the ‘Texan is very popular at Mosport. Then eleven laps front the end, the white Chaparral came round in the lead with the red McLaren only inches off his rear wheel. The crowd went berserk, cheering every lap until the end, when the gap was .officially 1.2 sec., although it could have been much closer.—M. J. T.