Historic F1 Cars Return to the 2011 Canadian GP

Mario Andretti in the Lotus 79 in Montreal in 1978
Mark Cipolloni/AR1.com

Due to the tremendous success of the vintage Formula 1 cars with the fans at last year's Canadian Grand Prix, organizers have decided to renew the invitation to the owners-drivers of Historic Grand Prix for the upcoming June 10, 11 & 12 event. The group responded with enthusiasm to the invitation sent by Octane Racing Group, the promoters of the Grand Prix, by announcing that a McLaren M-26 driven in 1977 by James Hunt and the 1978 Championship winning Mario Andretti Lotus 79 will be competing in Montreal for the first time in the Historic Grand Prix race. More than 30 of these iconic cars will compete on track and spectators will also be able to see them up close in the open paddocks located in the east section of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

"We have established a close relationship with the members of the Historic Grand Prix, a group of people that share the same passion as a great number of our faithful fans. Their confirmed presence on the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix schedule can easily be summarized: They wanted to come back and we wanted them back," explained Mr. François Dumontier, President of Octane Racing Group and President of Grand Prix du Canada. Furthermore, they have included to their already remarkable roster of historic open wheelers, two single-seaters, one of which is a legend. I think that spectators at the Grand Prix will be pleased to see these two cars up close, one which took part of the last Canadian Grand Prix held at Mosport Park and the other which competed in the first Grand Prix ever held in Montréal."

"For Historic Grand Prix to be once again invited to race in Montreal on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve at the Canadian Grand Prix is a tremendous thrill and honor. The fans here are fantastic; very knowledgeable and enthusiastic and fun to chat with in our paddock," said James King, co-director of Historic Grand Prix. Last year we brought 30 genuine F1 cars from the 1966-1983 era and presented a near perfect event – every car completed every lap of every session, save one gearbox DNF."

Those attending the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix next June 10, 11 & 12, will once again have a close look at the legendary singles-seaters built by Brabham, Tyrrell, March, Shadow and other great manufacturers. Also part of the program, Williams and Ferraris, two of which were driven by the late great Gilles Villeneuve, as well as the two new cars.

The James Hunt McLaren M26 was first seen at the Spanish Grand Prix, round five of the 1977 season. The British driver, who was the 1976 defending World Champion, drove it to pole position in Canada in the fall of 1977 during the last-ever Canadian Grand Prix held at the Mosport Park circuit. As for the Lotus 79, it was seen on Circuit Ile Notre Dame during the inaugural Canadian Grand Prix held in Montréal in 1978 driven by Mario Andretti, who eventually drove the Black Beauty to the World Championship title. The Lotus 79 was an improved version of the revolutionary wing car designed by Team Lotus owner Colin Chapman. Three decades and a few winks later, it remains to diehard fans the most beautiful Formula 1 car ever seen on track.

"For HGP the biggest thrill of the weekend might be the interest and excitement shown by the current F1 teams. Having people like Patrick Head, Ross Brawn and Frank Williams see their former cars turned out properly and raced with spirit, is very special for us," concluded James King. It is unfortunate that the late Colin Chapman will not witness the return of the Lotus 79.

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