1967 Canadian Grand Prix: A Retrospective

Story and Photos by Harry Kennison

1967 Canadian Grand PrixA Rainy Start.

The field goes through the treacherous downhill second corner at Mosport during the soggy, inaugural 1967 Canadian Grand Prix with Jackie Stewart-BRM H-16 leading eventual race winner, Jack Brabham- Brabham-Repco, Dan Gurney-Eagle Weslake, Mike Spence-BRM H-16, Jochen Rindt-Cooper Maserati, Bruce McLaren, McLaren BRM (outside), Chris Amon-Ferrari 312, Dickie Attwood-Cooper Maserati, Mike Fisher-Lotus BRM, Chris Irwin-BRM H-16 and Jo Bonnier-Cooper Maserati. Already past are pole-sitter, Jim Clark, Graham Hill and Denny Hulme.

1967 Canadian Grand PrixI was 19 in 1967 and already a hardcore Formula 1 fan for five years. Back then there was no ESPN or Speed Channel and only occasional snippets of coverage on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. To keep up to speed, I’d read my Autoweek & Competition Press cover to cover every week, soaking up the details of the grand prix season as it unfolded. It was there that I read about a new Canadian Grand Prix on the calendar scheduled to run a Mosport, Ontario. Living in the suburbs of Detroit, I pulled out a map (no MapQuest or GPS) and determined that it just might be a doable road trip. So with my camera packed and my younger brother in tow, we set off across the Queen’s Highway headed toward Bowmanville, Ontario, a little town northeast of Toronto and home to Mosport, site of the inaugural Canadian Grand Prix.

The race weekend was everything we’d hoped for. Back then the cars ran in the traditional colors of their countries, with little more than a tire or sparkplug decal discreetly placed on their flanks. Did I mention there were no wings or other aerodynamic appendages! Can you imagine having an $5.00 general admission weekend ticket and seeing a proverbial “who’s-who” of the international racing, names like Brabham, Hulme, Hill, Gurney, McLaren, Rodriguez, Amon, Stewart, Rindt and my all-time favorite, Jim Clark.

Mosport had erected canvas tents to house the grand prix teams giving the paddock a circus-like atmosphere. Unlike today’s grand prix races, where paddock passes are limited to the rich and famous, and there’s rarely a driver in sight, we could walk right up to the cars and drivers so long as we didn’t get in the mechanics’ way.

1967 Canadian Grand PrixOn Saturday, we found ourselves peering into the innards of a V-12 Weslake engine in the rear of Dan Gurney’s Eagle. I sensed someone standing next to us and when I turned I discovered it was Dan himself. He took the time to ask me where we were from. And when I told him, he said he really appreciated the American support. He also said that he hoped his luck would be different than what he’d encountered at the Nurburgring two weeks ago. Because of the lag time in receiving my Autoweek, I had no idea what Gurney was talking about. But when he explained that his Eagle had expired while he was leading the race giving the win to Denny Hulme, I then sadly understood.

In the race itself, the drivers put on an incredible display of car control in extremely soggy conditions. Jimmy Clark was on the pole besting his teammate, Graham Hill in the other Lotus-Ford by half a second. In the race Clark jumped out to an early lead. Hulme, the championship leader, took the lead from Clark before the rain began let up. As the track dried, McLaren was charging through the field to second place in a new car of his own design powered by a banshee-sounding BRM V-12, but his battery would soon go dead. Clark had retaken the lead on the dry track, but the rain wasn’t done yet. It came down in torrents which forced several cars to the sidelines with wet electrics, including Jimmy Clark. That would open the way for Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme to finish one-two in their incredibly reliable Brabham-Repco V-8s. With two wins to his credit and numerous podium finishes, Hulme would go on to be the 1967 World Champion.

Although I knew better, I liked to believe that the drivers were somehow invincible and I’d be able to marvel at their skills for years to come. Perhaps it was my own sense of invincibility (19-year olds tend to feel that way even today), that led me to believe in their immortality. Back then, I could never have accepted that these brave men could be lost in the blink of an eye. Although deep down, I think I knew it could happen, it was just something that I preferred not to think about.

Looking back nearly 42 years later I can see how naïve I was regarding the fate of many of those who competed in that inaugural Canadian Grand Prix and I thought it would be interesting to see how each driver did not only in that race, but what ultimately happened to each driver who qualified for that race in the months and years since then. As you might expect, several of the drivers are no longer with us, while others survived and thrived in the sport we love. I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank Pete Lyons, a long time racing journalist and photographer, who did a similar retrospective on CanAm drivers who participated in the 1968 Riverside Grand Prix in a recent issue of Autoweek (yes, that weekly publication is still around today). So, here’s what happened to those heroes of that glorious time in racing so many years ago.

1967 Canadian Grand Prix Starting Grid

1. Jim Clark, Lotus 49-Cosworth Ford V-8

1967 Canadian Grand PrixHaving damaged his primary car during Friday practice, Clark put the back-up #3 Lotus on the pole with a time of 1:22.4. After jumping out to an early lead, the superior power of Clark’s Cosworth-Ford proved a detriment in the wet conditions and he relinquished the lead to Hulme. Later in the race on a drying track, Clark would re-pass Hulme for the lead and set the fastest lap of the race, but when the rains came in earnest, wet electrics would result in a DNF for the great one. Although he would win four grand prix that year, he would lose the 1967 championship to Denny Hulme on points. Eight months after the Canadian Grand Prix on April 7, 1968 the two-time world champion and Indy 500 winner would die on another rain-swept track at Hockenheim, Germany in a Formula 2 race. For many of us, this would change the way we would view motor racing forever more.

2. Graham Hill, Lotus 49-Cosworth Ford V-8

1967 Canadian Grand PrixThe former world champion, Hill, had moved over to Lotus from the BRM team for the 1967 season to partner his long-time rival Jim Clark. Hill qualified an expected second behind his perennially faster teammate, Clark. During the race at Mosport, after spinning and stalling his car, Hill would climb out and push start it and go on to finish 4th overall. In 1968 following Clark’s death, Hill would go on to win his second and last World Championship driving for Lotus. He is also the only driver to win the Formula 1 Championship, the Indy 500 and Le Mans. He was killed in a private plane crash in heavy fog while returning to England from a test session for his Embassy Hill racing team in France. His driver prodigy and rising star, Tony Brise, was also killed in the crash.

3. Denny Hulme, Brabham-Repco V-8

1967 Canadian Grand PrixThe tough New Zealander who became known as “the Bear,” qualified third at Mosport and would lead the race under trying conditions, ultimately ending up second, behind his boss, Jack Brabham. In 1967, Hulme would win at Monaco and Germany but it was the bullet-proof reliability of his Brabham-Repco that would give him the points necessary to win the 1967 World Championship. Hulme was perhaps better known in America for his CanAm exploits where he racked up 22 wins and two championships driving for McLaren. He retired to New Zealand in 1973, but came back to drive in the European Touring Car Championship for Tom Walkinshaw. He died of a heart attack in 1992 while competing in touring car race in Australia.

4. Chris Amon, Ferrari 312

1967 Canadian Grand PrixIn many ways, the Canadian Grand Prix was a microcosm of this talented New Zealander’s career-close, but never a winner. After qualifying fourth, Amon spun his Ferrari in the rain on the pace lap causing havoc amongst the three BRM factory drivers.

1967 Canadian Grand PrixAmon ends up headed the wrong way on the pace lap and Stewart is sideways behind Spence who’s just recovered from a near spin.

Amon recovered only to spin again which put him back to the tail-end of the field. He fought his way back to finish 6th. Although he came close on many occasions, the luckless Kiwi never won a world championship grand prix in the 13 years in which he competed. His greatest successes came in sports cars where he won the 1966 Le Mans race partnered with Bruce McLaren in a Ford GT Mk II and the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona driving alongside fellow Ferrari driver, Lorenzo Bandini. He’s now 66 and lives in his native New Zealand where he’s lent his name to a scholarship for promising Toyota Racing series drivers.

5. Dan Gurney, Eagle-Weslake V-12

1967 Canadian Grand PrixAfter nearly winning the German Grand Prix two weeks before only to have a mechanical failure near the end of the race, Gurney was intent on achieving a better result in Canada. On Friday evening long after practice was over, I heard the distinctive sound of a grand prix engine. At first I thought it was just one of the teams firing up their engine in the paddock area, but then the sound came closer. Who should appear over the brow of Turn 2, but Gurney, out doing an after-hours reconnaissance lap, with fans actually out on the track. Gurney slowed to avoid them and then blasted off toward Moss corner at the far end of the circuit. In today’s tightly controlled F-1 environment, it’s hard to imagine what the draconian punishment would be for such a violation, but back then, no one seemed to raise an eyebrow; just Dan sorting out his car the evening before qualifying. In the race Gurney had problems with his goggles fogging up and after failed attempts to get a new pair without actually stopping, Dan settled on a goggle-less approach. It worked as he went on to pick up a third place podium finish. Gurney’s racing exploits are well documented having won at Le Mans co-driving with A J Foyt in a Ford GT Mark IV. His greatest grand prix victory came earlier in 1967 when he won the Belgian Grand Prix. He remains the only American to win a Grand Prix in an American car of his own design. He continued his illustrious career as a constructor and team owner of All American Racers, winning the Indy 500 twice with Bobby Unser as his driver. He also headed up Toyota’s highly successful IMSA GT efforts. Dan lives with his wife, Evi, in Newport Beach, California and follows his son, Alex’s, racing career.

6. Bruce McLaren, McLaren-BRM V-12

1967 Canadian Grand PrixBruce McLaren was a designer/engineer from New Zealand who set out to build his own Formula 1 car. After struggling with his ungainly McLaren M2B with its de-stroked Ford 4-cam Indy engine during the 1966 season, Bruce switched power plants for 1967 using a 3-liter BRM V-12 in the back of his sleek, new M5A chassis. An interesting tidbit about this particular car from the definitive book, McLaren Cars 1964-2008, by William Taylor indicates that several race sponsors wanted McLaren to paint the car British Racing Green instead of red which they felt conflicted with Ferrari’s colors. As McLaren mechanic, Alastair Caldwell, recalls, they only had red paint in the workshop at the time which they had used to paint their early CanAm cars, so the Formula 1 car ended up the same color. In Canada, he qualified sixth and ended up finishing seventh, but that’s not the whole story. After spinning on the third lap and dropping to twelfth, McLaren slipped through the field and was back up to third by lap 13 and then passed Clark for second behind Hulme. That was as high as McLaren would go as he would be re-passed by Clark and then suffer battery problems during the heavy rains near the end of the race four laps off the pace. Although McLaren would never live to see his dream of winning the World Championship fulfilled, he was a two-time CanAm champion and his McLarens captured the CanAm title five times. Tragically, Bruce was killed while testing the M8D CanAm car at Goodwood June 2, 1970. He was 33.

7. Jack Brabham, Brabham-Repco V-8

1967 Canadian Grand PrixBy 1967, Jack Brabham was a three-time World Champion having won back-to-back titles for Cooper in 1959 and 1960 as well as in 1966 driving his own car powered by the super-reliable Repco V-8. When the displacement had changed from 1.5 to 3 liters in 1966, Brabham and chief designer Ron Tauranac, took a conservative route by mating the Australian-produced V-8 to the sturdy Brabham chassis. For the first two years of the new formula, other cars may have been faster, but none came close to Brabham’s reliability. This played out in Canada, where Jack used gobs of anti-lock slides in qualifying to put his number one Brabham seventh on the grid. In the race, Black Jack bided his time and then took the lead when Clark stopped on course with wet electrics. He took the checkered flag ahead of his teammate, Denny Hulme who had stopped twice for goggles and a visor replacement. It was reported that Brabham almost didn’t make the race due to a massive traffic jam race morning. However, he was able to catch a ride with an ambulance and with siren blaring and lights flashing, made it in time for the start. Brabham continued his Formula 1 racing career through 1970 after which he retired at the age of 44. Perhaps one of Brabham’s greatest contribution to the sport was a post-season trip he made with his championship-winning Cooper-Climax to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the fall of 1960. Back then, the front-engined Offenhausers dominated the fabled brickyard, and no one thought too much about a “funny” little car with the engine in the rear. With financial help from American millionaire, Jim Kimberly, John Cooper and Brabham entered the 1961 race with a slightly modified chassis and a bored-out Climax engine to 2.75 liters. Although giving up 150 horsepower to the Offy-powered roadsters, Brabham found that the little Cooper could corner nearly flat out having been clocked at 143 miles per hour through the turns and qualified on the fifth row at 145 miles per hour. In the 500, Brabham ran as high as third and finished ninth. This turned out to be the beginning of the rear-engine revolution at the Speedway. By 1964, a rear-engined car sat on the pole and then won the 500 outright in 1965 thus ending the front-engine roadster era.

8. Jochen Rindt, Cooper-Maserati V-12

The young Austrian was not that well known at this stage of his career and unfortunately, yours truly, focused most of my attention on the front runners, rather than the cumbersome Cooper-Maserati’s. Hence I regret not having a photo at the Canadian Grand Prix of this future world champion. All things considered, I should have taken note of Rindt’s qualifying performance where he was not only the fastest of the Coopers, but also out-qualified Jackie Stewart and Mike Spence. During the Canadian Grand Prix his fine qualifying effort didn’t translate into race results, where he was first out of those that started the race with ignition problems. After three years as a Cooper works driver, Rindt joined Jack Brabham’s team replacing Hulme who had moved over to McLaren. Unlike the previous years where the Brabham proved to be reliable and unbeatable, technical problems and radical twin wings, forced Rindt to change teams again in 1969 settling in with Colin Chapman at Team Lotus. After several spirited drives in the Lotus 49C, including a stunning win at Monaco, Rindt’s new ride to finish the 1970 season was the radical, wedge-shaped Lotus 72. He clicked off four more victories and seemed assured of the World Championship when the teams showed up at Monza. It was there that he suffered his fatal accident in practice that would make him the first posthumous World Champion. He also won the LeMans 24-Hours co-driving a Ferrari 250LM with American, Masten Gregory.

9. Jackie Stewart, BRM H-16

1967 Canadian Grand PrixI’ve often wondered how many wins Jackie Stewart might have accumulated in his career had he not spent two years slogging around in the ungainly BRM H-16. I would hazard to say that he could have easily picked up another four or five wins had BRM used the more conventional V-12. If the truth be known, the only one to achieve victory with this diabolically complex exercise in futility, was Jim Clark in a Lotus 43 at the U. S. Grand Prix at Watkins Glen in 1966 (ah, but that is another story). For the Canadian Grand Prix, the Owen Racing Organization had entered three cars for team leader, Stewart, Mike Spence and Chris Irwin. Stewart’s ninth place starting position made him the fastest of the three, factory BRM’s, but a full three seconds behind his countryman and pole-sitter, Jim Clark. After nearly being taken out on the warm-up lap by a spinning Amon, Stewart soldiered on but a sticky throttle put him out on lap 65. 1967 would prove to be his final year with BRM before moving to Ken Tyrell’s new team in 1968. Stewart would win world championships in 1969, 1971 and 1973 and become at that time the sport’s all-time winning driver with 27 victories, two more than his countryman, Jim Clark. He retired from driving at Watkins Glen after the death of his teammate, Francois Cervert, in practice for the U S Grand Prix but his career in motor sports continues to this day. In addition to being a consummate promoter of racing safety, Stewart created his own grand prix team with his son, Paul, in 1996. With one win and one pole position to their credit, they sold the team to Jaguar in 1999. At 70, Stewart is still very involved in the sport.

10. Mike Spence, BRM H-16

Englishman Mike Spence would qualify his BRM tenth for the Canadian Grand Prix behind teammate, Jackie Stewart. After spinning to avoid Chris Amon on the pace lap, Spence would recover to take a soggy and well deserved fifth place. Earlier in his career, Spence partnered Jim Clark at Lotus in 1964 and 1965 and then moved to BRM for the 1966-67 seasons. In 1968, following Clark’s death, Spence was asked by Colin Chapman to drive his radical, new Lotus 56-Turbine car at Indianapolis. Spence was killed one month to the day after Clark when his car hit the turn 1 wall in practice for the 500. Like Clark at the time of his death, Spence was 32.

11. Chris Irwin, BRM H-16

1967 Canadian Grand PrixThis young British driver was on the BRM “B” team run by Reg Parnell Racing and qualified eleventh behind the two factory BRM drivers, Stewart and Spence. Like the other two BRM drivers, Irwin was nearly taken out by the spinning Amon on the pace lap but recovered only to spin out of the race on the 18th lap finishing a dismal 17th. He was expected to stay with BRM for the 1968 season, but suffered a career-ending accident while driving a Ford P68 sports car for Alan Mann Racing while practicing for the Nurburgring 1000 KM race resulting in serious head injuries. He has lived in near complete anonymity for nearly 40 years until recently attending a historic racing event at Thruxton, England.

12. David Hobbs, BRM V-8

1967 Canadian Grand PrixAlthough most of us know David Hobbs today for his outrageously dry wit as one of SPEED Channel’s Formula 1 commentators, back in 1967 he was in his rookie year driving a two-year old BRM 2 liter V-8. Even then, as the accompanying photo shows Hobbs throwing up a rooster tail of spray down Mosport’s back straight, he had some very “large appendages.” He qualified right behind the other three BRMs in twelfth. With the rain coming down in earnest near the end of the race, Hobbs had to pull in for fresh goggles before continuing to a well deserved ninth place finish. Years later I had the opportunity to speak to David during the U S Grand Prix weekend in Phoenix about driving in those monsoon conditions and have the above photo autographed by him. He laughed about the “frightful conditions” and admitted that he wouldn’t be caught dead driving like that today. Hobbs’ formula one career was somewhat short lived, but he was a frequent competitor in the CanAm and was the F-5000 series champion in 1971. David also won the TransAm championship driving a Corvette in 1983. He has also raced in the Indy 500 and at Le Mans twenty times finishing as high as third. Today he lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he owns a Honda car dealership and continues to be the perfect foil to Bob Varsha on SPEED’s Formula 1 coverage. This year Hobbs was honored at the Amelia Island Concours Event in Florida.

13. Richard Attwood, Cooper-Maserati V-12

1967 Canadian Grand PrixInterestingly, the Canadian Grand Prix would be Attwood’s only Formula 1 start in 1967 where he was brought in to sub for the Cooper works team regular driver, Pedro Rodriguez, who was injured in a F-2 race the previous weekend. Attwood would qualify 13th and finish 10th. In 1968 Attwood moved to the BRM team to replace Mike Spence, who was killed while testing at Indianapolis. In what would be considered his finest drive in his ever-so brief Formula 1 career, he brought his bulky Cooper home second at Monaco behind Graham Hill’s Lotus. He left Formula 1 at the end of the season to concentrate on sport cars and would be a part of Porsche’s first overall win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970 partnering the 917K with Hans Herrmann. Attwood retired from racing after the 1971 season. He owned his own Porsche 917 which was painted in the red and white Salzburg livery of the winning car, but ended up selling it for over $1 million in 2000. He remains active in historic motorsports events including the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

14. Jo Bonnier, Cooper-Maserati V-12

1967 Canadian Grand PrixThe handsome Swede would qualify 14th and finish a fine eighth in Canada driving his red Cooper. Bonnier’s Formula 1 career was forever defined by driving the factory BRM to its first F-1 victory at Zandvoort in 1959. He had a successful career in sports cars winning the Targa Florio and the Sebring 12 Hours and also found time for the CanAm. I remember him turning in the fastest practice time in the rain at Elkhart Lake’s Road America driving his McLaren M6B-Chevy that was shod with the latest Firestone F-1 rain tires. He was known as a champion of safety and a major force in the creation of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association. Tragically, he was killed in the 1972 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans when his privately-entered Lola collided with a Ferrari Daytona sending poor Bonnier into a line of trees. The trees were quietly removed prior to the 1973 race.

15. Al Pease, Eagle-4 Cylinder Climax

Pease was an accomplished Canadian amateur sports car racer who happened to be at the right place at the right time in 1967. It seems as though Castrol was looking to enter a Canadian driver in the first ever Canadian Grand Prix. They were also the sponsor of Dan Gurney’s All American Racers’ Eagle, so a deal was made to purchase an Eagle chassis powered by a four-cylinder Climax engine which Gurney used for testing purposes before the Weslake V-12 engine was made available. Al Pease became the designated driver. He qualified 15th on the grid and was narrowly within the 10% compulsory time of the top qualifier. In the race, Pease’s battery went flat leaving him stranded out on the track. Rather than retire, he ran back to the pits and got another battery, installed it and finished a distant 15th, 43 laps down, which was too few laps to be officially classified as a finisher. In 1968 he failed to qualify for the Canadian Grand Prix held at St. Jovite and in 1969 Canadian Grand Prix he was disqualified in the middle of the race for being too slow in the same Eagle-Climax he’d run in 1967. Despite his dismal F-1 record (this author found most of Pease’s biographical information on the F-1 Rejects website), Pease was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 1998. Well into his 80’s, Pease now lives in Tennessee.

16. Eppie Wietzes, Lotus 49-Cosworth Ford V-8

This young, up-and-coming Canadian racer was tabbed to drive the spare Lotus 49 at the inaugural Canadian Grand Prix. However, his debut Formula 1 weekend took a turn for the worse, when team leader, Jim Clark, backed his Lotus #5 into the turn one fence during the first practice session and took over the spare Lotus #3 which was to be for Wietzes. Eppie would have to wait for the understaffed Lotus mechanics to repair Clark’s primary car, which Wietzes would drive in the race. With virtually no practice time, Wietzes ended up qualifying 16th and in the race would suffer the same wet electrics problem that forced Clark out as well. He went on to a stellar career in the F-5000 series fielding beautifully turned out Lolas of various species and was always amongst the top independents finishing fourth in the series once and fifth on two occasions. He now lives in Thornhill, Ontario.

17. Mike Fisher, Lotus 33-BRM V-8

Perhaps no entry into the 1967 Canadian Grand Prix illustrates how things have changed over the years than American independent racer, Mike Fisher. He had entered Jim Clark’s championship-winning Lotus 33, now powered by a BRM engine, for his first Grand Prix. After suffering gearbox problems in the initial practice, Mike was forced to take apart the gearbox himself and make repairs. By contrast, in today’s multi-billion dollar sport, there would be a dedicated group of transmission technicians within each team analyzing computer read-outs and replacing the faulty sequential-shift, black box transmissions that are found on today’s Formula 1 cars. One thing you would not find today would be Lewis Hamilton getting his hands and shiny uniform dirty draining out transmission fluid and swapping gear ratios. But in 1967, Fisher’s crew was made up of his friends, none of whom were mechanically inclined, so the driver did what he had to do. Despite serving as his own mechanic for the weekend, Mike would start 17th and work his way up to eleventh. He would also race in the 1967 Mexican Grand Prix where he retired. This would prove to be his last race as Fisher started pilot training for Vietnam. He spent some time at the Pentagon and also served briefly as CART’s vice president of racing in 1997.

18. Tom Jones, Cooper-Climax (Did not Qualify)

Perhaps the most independent of the independents entered in the Canadian Grand Prix was American, Tom Jones from Cleveland, Ohio. Having commissioned the Cooper factory to modify a 1966 F-2 Cooper to F-1 specs, alibi to 1965 1.5 liter specs, Tom then heard that there was to be a Canadian Grand Prix so he gave the organizers a call to see if he could enter. “No problem.” So off he went with his underpowered, one-year-old Cooper to Mosport to fulfill the chance of a life time. Unfortunately, the remainder of the weekend didn’t fare so well. After an uneventful practice session, Jones took to the track for qualifying. Following his warm-up lap, he set out on a hot lap only to have the engine die. With only one qualifying warm-up lap behind him, Jones found himself over 29 seconds behind Clark’s pole time and well out of the 10% of pole compulsory time. The stewards of the race determined that Jones was too slow to qualify and refused to let him start the race. Although bitterly disappointed, Tom continued on in the Cooper in Formula A races with little competition and little success. In the winter of 1967, he negotiated another deal with Cooper to purchase Pedro Rodriguez’s 1967 Cooper-Maserati T-81, but John Cooper alleged that he still owed them $8,000, which Jones denied. Cooper re-possessed the car leaving Jones nearly bankrupt. Following a six-year layoff, Jones would return to the F-5000 series and later the revised CanAm series making sporadic appearances in each up through 1980. Following a stint as an automotive company sales rep, Jones would lose his job and was unable to race again. He now runs his own welding and fabricating business in Cleveland.

19. Jo Siffert, Cooper-Maserati V-12 (Did not Start)

1967 Canadian Grand PrixThe other non-starter for the 1967 Canadian Grand Prix was Swiss driver, Jo “Seppi” Siffert who drove his Cooper-Maserati for independent, Rob Walker. Although Siffert would have qualified 14th behind Hobbs, Siffert experienced a starter ring failure which sliced through the casing and cut the starter off during qualifying. With no spare available, he was unable to make the grid for the start. His Formula 1 career would be highlighted by his epic win in the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch in 1968 driving Rob Walker’s Lotus 49-Ford. He would also be victorious in the 1971 Austrian Grand Prix driving for BRM. Siffert drove for Porsche in sports cars and won virtually every major race except for Le Mans. Sadly, Jo would lose his life in a non-championship Formula 1 race at Brands Hatch, the site of his most famous victory. He was 35.

Looking back some 42 years later, six of those who participated in the inaugural Canadian Grand Prix would die behind the wheel of a race car (Clark, McLaren, Rindt, Bonnier, Spence, Siffert); two others would die of non-racing related causes (Hill-Plane crash, Hulme-heart attack while salon car racing) and eleven are still alive today (Amon, Gurney, Brabham, Stewart, Irwin, Hobbs, Attwood, Pease, Wietzes, Fisher & Jones). Six of the drivers who ran in that first Canadian Grand Prix produced twelve World Championships between them (Clark-2, Hill-2, Hulme-1, Brabham-3, Rindt-1, Stewart-3).

To find out more about the inaugural Canadian Grand Prix and the drivers who competed you may refer to the following sources which were instrumental in the preparation of this article:

Russell Jaslow, “The First Canadian Grand Prix” www.autoracinghistory.com
Wikipedia www.wikipedia.com
Chicane F1 www.chicanef1.com
Formula One Rejects www.f1rejects.com/drivers/index.html
Motorsport Magazine, August, 1967, article edited by Per Einarsson
McLaren Cars 1964-2008, by William Taylor