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It wasn't pretty but it was effective.  Jim Crawford in the converted F1 Ensign N180B at Mosport Park in 1983.  Copyright Terry Capps 2014.  Used with permission.

Can-Am 1983

This was the season Can-Am fell from grace, crushed by the expansion and success of CART. Firstly, the race promoters decamped, most damagingly the high-profile Laguna Seca and Riverside "Fall Series" meetings, a mainstay not just of the Single-Seat Can-Am but before that through F5000 and the first Can-Am back to USRRC in the early 1960s. Both moved to CART. Mid-Ohio, another regular date going back to USRRC days, cancelled their Can-Am round too and the SCCA's inability to deliver ten races led to the loss of title sponsor Budweiser. The top teams were also on their way, with Galles Racing, VDS and Paul Newman all moving across to CART, the latter joining forces with Carl Haas. Jim Trueman of TrueSports had left a year earlier, taking Bobby Rahal and VDS chief crew Steve Horne with him, and they had proved immediately successful. Most drivers went in the same direction; the exception being Al Holbert who moved to IMSA.

With a shortened calendar and the most professional teams gone, Can-Am only had the cars left. After all, there was nowhere else a single-seat sports car could race. The Frissbees were acquired by Canadian Tire and raced by Jacques Villeneuve Sr while the VDS cars went to Norwood-Walker Racing who ran them for Michael Roe. Joining them was the converted F1 Ensign N180B entered by Fernley Racing for Jim Crawford and these three kept up the excitement levels, the title eventually going to the Canadian after he was able to hold off Crawford over the closing laps of the final race.

Some additional excitement was created by the appearance of a Group C Porsche 956 in a Can-Am race, John Fitzpatrick winning at Road America. Further back, veteran Horst Kroll mopped up a series of minor placings in a ten-year-old Lola T330 that had received the latest Frissbee tweaks.

The races

05 Jun 1983 > Mosport Park

03 Jul 1983 > Lime Rock

18 Jul 1983 > Road America

04 Sep 1983 > Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières

11 Sep 1983 > Mosport Park

09 Oct 1983 > Sears Point

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