These days the name Can-Am is no more than a far-off legend, a distant memory. Fewer and fewer people are around to recall what is was like to drive or even watch those awe inspiring racing machines. It represented everything that was right about motor racing, teams given essentially a blank canvas to produce the rawest, purest, fastest racing cars the world had ever seen, or has seen since. Unlimited engine sizes, turbocharged or supercharged, and virtually unrestricted aerodynamics spawned some very, very scary creations. Basically, if the car had four wheels and a steering wheel, it was legal!
So imagine our excitement when we discovered that McLaren, veterans of the original series in the 60’s, were planning a track variant of their stunning new supercar the MP4-12C, to carry the legendary Can-Am name. Titled the McLaren 12C Can-Am Edition, this concept really does rekindle the ghosts of the machines that first inspired it. The striking orange livery is a throwback to beasts which Denny Hulme and Bruce McLaren himself piloted to so much success 50 years ago. Topped off with a chainmail of carbon fibre bodywork, the 12C Can-Am Edition certainly looks like it could tame even the world’s most fiendish tracks.
Although based on the 12C GT3 race car, the latest incarnation is still at the concept stage and therefore not bound by standard track regulations. As a result, McLaren have gleefully added a tweaked version of the familiar 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 producing an earth-shattering 630 BHP and also making it the most powerful 12C derivative to date. McLaren’s Formula 1 boffins have also been roped in to help engineer the unique aerodynamics of the 12C Can-Am Edition which provide a 30% increase in downforce. In fact, an entirely new high-efficiency braking system has been developed just to keep the awesome power in check.
Much like its fabled forefathers, the 12C Can-Am Edition is intent on being nothing short of the ultimate track star. And based on this information, it would be a worthy successor to fill such legendary boots. However, we all know in our heart of hearts that a concept this potent could never become reality in today’s world, for the very same reasons why Can-Am itself has been consigned to the history books. And what a crying shame that is.