Video: The madness of Can-Am at Laguna Seca

02nd July 2024
Ethan Jupp
We are days out from the 2024 Goodwood Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard getting underway but even then, on occasion, we can’t help but feel a bit of nostalgia for the madness of the Can-Am demo at the Members’ Meeting presented by Audrain Motorsport earlier this year. At least, that’s the party line as to why we’ve been watching Can-Am videos instead of rugby tackling the pile of Festival of Speed prep. Really, they’re just awesome.

Videos like this one, which documents in glorious period style the 1979 Canadian-American Challenge round at Laguna Seca.

The preamble for the race of ‘the world’s fastest sportscars’ is so cool, with a brief overview of the Pacific Coast area of California Laguna is so slightly inland from. We see the spectators funnelling in – this was a popular series, for the incredible cars and the excitement of the racing. 

There’s star appeal, too, with Grand Prix and Le Mans legends on the grid, from Keke Rosberg, to Jackie Ickx, who were vying at Laguna for the Championship with Elliot Forbes-Robinson. Of course, we know Ickx would go on to claim the championship in 1979. The man, the myth, the legend that is Dan Gurney, takes us into the pit lane and through the revolutionary POV view being experimented with for the first time, as well as outlining the standings of the championship. 

It was Rosberg that proved fastest qualifying, pushing his ‘Budweiser Spider’ to the very limits and beyond. The amount he’s weaving around, sliding, going off the track, you have to wonder how he managed to be fastest. He went on to suffer a prang in his car later in the session and suffered pain trying to get in it and get running for the race itself.

As the cars absolutely thunder across the line, the speeds are near unimaginable, even as they brake for turn one. We don’t see racing like this anymore: racing you can’t take your eyes off, for even a second.

Welcome to Goodwood Elevenses, a helping of motoring-related amusement to help break up your day. Watch the last video: Lister Costin tops 140mph in Sicily

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