Two degrees of separation
Alan Jones stepped out of full-time Can-Am competition after the clinching the ’78 title, Carl Haas replaced him with another driver with a stint with Frank Williams in Formula 1 on his resume – Jacky Ickx.
Ickx’s main competition for the ’79 title was a future Williams F1 driver, Keke Rosberg, who was signed by the Paul Newman-fronted Newman-Freeman Racing. Rosberg, of course, would replace Jones at Williams for the 1982 season, winning the World Championship that year. The success of both the Australian and the Finn would suggest Can-Am MkII was, in the very least, no hindrance to Grand Prix success.
Rosberg won first time out in Can-Am at Atlanta and again mid-season at Watkins Glen in the Lola T333CS-based Spyder NF-11. Rosberg’s teammate Elliott Forbes-Robinson won the Trois-Rivieres round that year. Thus, there are Australian connections aplenty and much fewer than six degrees of separation throughout this unique era of racing history.
A good example is that a Spyder NF-11 driven by Rosberg and EFR now resides in Australia – the striking Budweiser and Edmonton Oilers-liveried car of Sydneysider Andrew Kluver. This car turned laps at last year’s Muscle Car Masters, as pictured below.