Page 1 of 1 One of the Can-Am regulars was gentleman racer Gary Wilson, who first raced Lolas and later campaigned customer McLarens. During the 1973 season, Wilson raced a McLaren M8E with little success. The three-year old car's career ended with a destructive fire. With no new customer cars available, Wilson decided to have a bespoke car built around the remains of his McLaren. Tasked to design and build the new Can-Am racer was John Collins. He worked from Wilson's shop in California along with fabricator Gerald 'Jerry' Tune.
Wilson's burned out McLaren served as a pattern for the new Sting GW1. This was reflected most in the design of the aluminium monocoque chassis. The suspension and brakes were also wholly conventional, while the Sting was powered by the latest big block GM V8. Wilson had previously used a turbocharged V8 but a change in the fuel allocation favoured naturally aspirated engine for the 1974 season. What really set the Sting apart from the M8E previously used was the all-new body. The bold lines were clearly inspired by the Porsche 917/30 that dominated Can-Am in 1973.
With the car still under construction, Wilson had to skip the first three rounds of the 1974 Can-Am Challenge Cup. The Sting was finally ready to debut at Mid-Ohio. It was a disappointing first appearance as Wilson crashed in the rain during practice and could not start the race. The GW1 was repaired in time for the next round at Road America, where Wilson placed an impressive fifth. Unfortunately, this was also the final Can-Am race as the championship was cancelled due to a lack of interest. Wilson raced the Sting once more in a minor event but he retired with driveshaft failure.
As it was introduced in the penultimate round, the Sting GW1 can be considered the very last Can-Am car. It impressed with a fifth place finish in only its second appearance but the project also drained Wilson's funds to the extend that in the following years his racing efforts were restricted to one-off appearances. The unique Sting has survived and has been restored for historic racing. Page 1 of 1