Shadows at Goodwood

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Half a century after he won the ninth and last Canadian-American Challenge championship in a Shadow DN4, Jackie Oliver will be reunited with the Chevro-let V8-engined sledgehammer at Goodwood’s 81st Members’ Meeting on 13-14 April.

Oliver, now 81, was a Le Mans 24 Hours winner – having partnered Jacky Ickx in JW Automotive’s Ford GT40 in 1969 – when he joined American Don Nichols’ fledgling Shadow Formula 1 team in 1973 alongside George Follmer, driving Tony Southgate’s curvaceous black Cosworth DFV-powered DN1 cars. 

Follmer doubled-up in Can-Am, driving extraordinarily innovative Advanced Vehicle Systems (AVS) Shadow cars from the get-go, but the tiny early machines were abject failures.  Nichols, undeterred, soldiered on in the wake of the Porsche 917 turbopanzers that had snuffed out McLaren’s four-year supremacy.

Shadow eventually capitalised when the opposition wilted.  And then some.  Eighth in a Mark 3 in ‘72, Oliver won four of the five rounds in ‘74, leaving Scooter Patrick (McLaren M20) a last hurrah at Elkhart Lake’s Road America.  Patrick placed third in the table behind Follmer, both having scored in three events.

Every evolution of Shadow Can-Am car will be on track in daily demonstrations at Goodwood, curated by Jim Bartel – fanatical about the marque since he saw the prototype unveiled in Road & Track magazine in 1969 – and the Anglo-American ERA Motorsport team headed by Kyle Tilley, charged with running them in recent years.

Bartel’s prototype, Mk1, Mk2, Mk3, DN4 and DN4B cars will be joined by Kirt Bennett’s DN2, a monster familiar to US Historic racegoers for decades.  The aesthetics and finish on these monsters, not previously seen en masse on this side of the Atlantic, should ensure that they are the most photographed cars at the event.

The Shadow team’s F1 successes were limited, Nichols presiding over Tom Pryce’s magnificent 1975 Race of Champions victory at Brands Hatch and third place in the Austrian GP in a DFV-engined DN5, a result the Welshman matched with a DN5B in the 1976 Brazilian GP.

In subsequent ownership, the equipe scored one World Championship win, Alan Jones triumphing in the 1977 Austrian GP aboard a DN8.  The brawny Australian clinched the title with Williams three years later.

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