The Historic Can-Am Challenge will replace the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race at this year’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, and a McLaren M6B has already taken some demonstration laps on the course.
Toyota Motor Sales announced last year that it would no longer promote the Pro/Celebrity race that had supported the Grand Prix for 40 years, and so event president and CEO Jim Michaelian has signed the Historic Can-Am Challenge to slot into the schedule that includes the Verizon IndyCar Series, IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar championship, Pirelli World Challenge, SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks and Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge
The entrylist for the historic Can-Am race currently totals 19 cars, and includes legendary marques including Shadow, Lola, McLaren, McKee, Genie, Sting and an Alan Mann Special. In their day, these cars were piloted by George Follmer, Jackie Oliver, Sir Jack Brabham, Mark Donohue, Peter Revson, Skip Scott, John Cannon and Mario Andretti.
The 20-lap race around the 11-turn, 1.968-mile streetcourse will be held on Saturday, April 8, at 12 noon.
To promote the Historic Can-Am Challenge and provide a photo opportunity, local driver/owner Joseph DeLoreto of Huntington Harbor completed a slow lap of the track in his 1968 McLaren M6B which was owned by local icon Carroll Shelby and originally raced by Revson. The blue McLaren, whose sills bear autographs by Shelby and legendary mechanic Phil Remington, was a winner with Revson at Can-Am’s Mt. Fuji Invitational in ’68. DiLoreto, a retired Superior Court judge, has owned the car since 2003 and has raced it since 2005.
The Toyota GP of Long Beach on April 7-9 is Round 2 of the Verizon IndyCar Series.