Page 1 of 2 Next >> In its nine season history the original Canadian-American Challenge (Can-Am) saw its fair share of unusual machines. Made possible by the fairly liberal rules, these added some extra interest to the series but rarely proved successful. Among them was the first Shadow raced several times during the 1970 season. A new car was built for 1971, which was still far from conventional and again yielded no notable results. The manufacturer's fortunes looked set to take a turn for the better when owner Don Nichols appointed Tony Southgate as chief engineer. He came with plenty of sports car and Formula 1 design experience and started the design of the 1973 Shadow Can-Am car with a clean sheet of paper.
The team's 1971 and 1972 cars had been designed by Peter Bryant and were very bulky (from 1972 onwards in appearance only). Southgate was clearly inspired by the low and wide Lola T310 car that made a belated appearance towards the end of 1972. The body of his Shadow DN2 looked like it was draped very tightly over the essentials. Aimed squarely at the dominant 'Porsche-Panzer,' it was designed to house the Turbo-charged version of the big block Chevrolet V8 engine. Due to its repetitive tendency to self-destruct the blown V8 was eventually abandoned. This left the team with a chassis that was unnecessary sturdy and as a result overweight. The Penske team with the Porsche 917s again dominated.
With only Porsche and Shadow as official manufacturers present, the 1973 Can-Am already had a minimal entry but it would get worse still in 1974. The world was in the middle of the oil crisis, which was certainly at odds with racing gas-guzzling 800-1200 bhp cars. In response to the situation the governing body set a fuel consumption limit of 3 mpg. Coincidentally this was about as much as the big block V8s used. However it was a limit that the even thirstier twin-Turbo Porsche flat-12s could never meet. This effectively ended the Porsche presence in the Can-Am Challenge, leaving Shadow as the sole manufacturer amidst the many privateers in older McLarens and Lolas. Hollow championship or not, Nichols decided to go for it and had Southgate design a new car. Page 1 of 2 Next >>