Four-engined Can-Am racer

This blog has covered the S.E.F.A.C. and the Connew – two unsuccessful but relatively orthodox racing cars. The entry for this blog post is arguably one of the more unusual and complicated racing cars ever built – the Mac’s It Can-Am Special.

Back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the North American Can-Am series had probably the most exciting series of racing in the world, with open cockpit sportscars powered by big -block engines producing fast and memorable racing.

When Enavon Racing decided to throw their hat into the ring for the 1970 series, agains the McLarens, Porsches, Lolas and other established, they decided on something totally radical.

The Mac’s It Special was designed by Jack Hoare, and he believed that instead of having one huge engine to provide the power, a separate engine for each wheel would give greater grip and better performance. A 775cc Rotax two-stroke motorcycle engine powered each wheel.

macsit4
Front view of the Mac’s IT special, clearly showing the two front-mounted Rotax motorcycle engines.

 

All of the motors were connected to each other by shaft-drive, with the main driveshaft going alongside the driver. The car was tested at the Orange County Speedway by driver Hiroshi Matsushita, but the drive-shaft was broken after only a couple of laps. The variation in power between four engines would lead to breakages every time Matsushita accelerated.

70_MacsItSpl_Cockpit
Cockpit view – a rev counter for each engine.

The car turned up at Laguna Seca in California for the 9th race of the 1970 season, the Monterey Castrol Grand Prix on October 18.

macsit5
The Mac IT’s Special with Hiroshi Matsushita driving, going out to qualify at the Monterey Castrol Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.

Matsushita’s fastest lap  was 1 minute 29 seconds, 12 seconds slower than the second-slowest qualifier. The fastest qualifier was a Chaparral 2J, which did a lap in 59 seconds.

The Mac’s IT Special was a non-qualifier, and was never seen again at a race meeting.

The main source of information for this blog entry was John Krill’s page about the car on his website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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