50 years ago, the maddest series in the history of motorsport got underway at Mont Tremblant in Canada. With few rules to speak of, the cars that took to the track for that first Canadian-American Cup race were some of the fastest, most powerful racing machines there have ever been.
McLaren was there right from the start, entering the M1B for inaugural season. It looked like a bathtub with wheels and a socking-great V8 engine, but was hugely effective. To mark the 50th anniversary of the Can-Am series, McLaren is launching a special edition version of the 650S Spider called, appropriately enough, the 650S Can-Am.
Built by McLaren’s bespoke division, MSO, the 650S Can-Am is inspired by the M1B raced by Chris Amon and Bruce McLaren himself in ’66. The car launches wearing a coat of Mars Red paint with white detailing, similar to the livery of Bruce’s racer. The wheels, too, draw on the ’66 car, with a five-spoke pattern finished in gloss black with a diamond cut rim. Carbon ceramic brakes come as standard.
New carbonfibre louvres over the front wheels increase downforce and a quad-exit exhaust has been added along with sundry other little details. We particularly like the ‘Can-Am’ lettering on the carbon side sills.
Inside, there’s leather and alcantara upholstery, swathes of carbonfibre trim and the obligatory numbered plaque.
Mechanically the Can-Am edition is unchanged from the standard 650S Spider. But with a 3.8-litre, twin-turbo V8 making 641bhp and 500lb/ft of torque, a 0-62mph sprint of 3.0secs and a top speed of 204mph, it’s hardly lacking go.
Just 50 examples of the McLaren 650S Can-Am will be built, at the not-inconsiderable price of £255,850. That’s about £40,000 over list, which is a lot but you can easily spend that much ticking option boxes.
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By Only Motors