Jack Brabham won first Canadian F1 Grand Prix in 1967

For a horde of Canadian motorsport enthusiasts, the best way to celebrate the country’s 100th anniversary in 1967 was to stage a round of the prestigious Formula 1 World Championship.

Jack Brabham won first Canadian F1 Grand Prix in 1967
Graham Hill, Lotus 49-Ford, leads Jack Brabham, Brabham BT24-Repco, and Jackie Stewart, BRM P83
Jack Brabham, Brabham BT24-Repco, leads Chris Amon, Ferrari 312
Jim Clark, Lotus 49 Ford
Bruce McLaren, McLaren M5A BRM
Jackie Stewart, B.R.M. P83, leads Mike Spence, B.R.M. P83
Graham Hill, Lotus 49 Ford
Jack Brabham, Brabham BT24-Repco, celebrates victory on the podium

The Canadian F1 Grand prix celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Let's go back in time and relive the very first edition, held in 1967.

A dedicated group of motorsport aficionados, race officials and F1 fanatics started working on the project. They contacted the FIA in Paris and presented them with their plan to stage the race at Mosport Park, a spectacular and scenic roller coaster ride made of blind, sweeping corners located east of Toronto.

The 3.957 km fast track had welcomed Sportscar, Can-Am, Trans-Am and IndyCar races in the past, but never the F1 machinery.

The FIA gave its approval and the CASC, the Canadian Automobile Sport Clubs, was granted the date of August 27 for this historic race, right after the German Grand Prix and before the Italian race. An intense battle for supremacy involved teams Lotus, Brabham, Ferrari and Eagle at the time. To celebrate Canada’s Centennial Year, two local drivers, Al Pease and Eppie Wietzes, managed to rent F1 cars for this celebrated event.

Driving the Ford Cosworth DVF-powered Lotus 49s, Jim Clark and Graham Hill emerged quickest in qualifying. Denny Hulme, the leader of the Drivers’ Championship at that stage, would join them on the front row in his Brabham. Chris Amon in a Ferrari and Dan Gurney in his Eagle would take the start from the second row. Behind the wheel of a Lotus-BRM, American Mike Fisher was the slowest of the 17 participants, having qualified 9.5 seconds slower than the poleman.

A rainy day

Fifty-five thousand race fans gathered on race day to witness what was to be a tremendous display of car control in very treacherous conditions. Rain started to fall during the drivers’ parade and continued to fall when the flag was dropped, signally the start of the race.

Clark powered away and led from Hulme as the rest field negotiated the very difficult, downhill and off cambered Corner 2. In his Brabham, Hulme powered into the lead on Lap 4. Meanwhile, Bruce McLaren was experiencing some difficulties in the wet, but the New Zealander never capitulated despite the fact of running as low as 12th in the early goings.

Lap after lap, the cars splashed, their progress punctuated by wild spins and astounding recoveries. On Lap 13, the now flying McLaren passed Jack Brabham for third place and nine laps later, he powered in front of Clark for second place with Hulme still in the lead. However, as the track began to dry, McLaren started to go backward and lost places.

On Lap 28, Clark passed McLaren for second place while Hulme was still in the lead. Rain restarted shortly after. On Lap 58 out of 90, Clark in his green Lotus moved into the lead. Everything looked fine for the Scot, until his V8 Cosworth suddenly lost its voice, victim of a wet ignition, ending his race on Lap 67.

Jack Brabham eventually passed Hulme for first place, and the Brabham teammates crossed the line in that order. Dan Gurney in his Eagle-Weslake arrived home third.

Graham Hill finished fourth in his Lotus, ahead of Mike Spence (BRM) and Chris Amon (Ferrari).

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