The Can-Am championship, which full name was originaly Canadian-American Challenge Cup, was established in 1966. There were two separate periods in its history. The first period was from 1966 to 1974. It was the most famous Can-Am era. Eligible group 7 sports racing cars were almost totally unrestricted and they were the quickest cars in the world at the time - quicker then F1 or sportscars running in the World Championship. Many top F1 drivers took part in the Can-Am of those days. It was the best-feed series. The first title came to John Surtees with his Lola. But then became a McLaren era. Works team with Denny Hulme and its founder Bruce McLaren was almost unbeatable and won most of the races between 1967 and 1971. But before 1970 season was Bruce killed during testing of his new Can-Am car. The new McLaren management lost their interest about Can-Am after dominance of Porsche-Turbo in 1972. Soon after Can-Am began slowly to lose its importance and interest of public. This situation came into crisis in 1974 when the series ended after only five races and the winner Oliver with Shadow wasn't accepted by the FIA.
The new era of Can-Am was 1977-1986. This modern era admitted also single-seater cars but only up to 5 litre engines were allowed. So classic Can-Am cars were handicapped against much lighter rebodied F5000. The most successful make was Lola with its T333CS and T530 models. Many other top cars were also based on Lola chassis: Prophet, Spyder, Frissbee or VDS. Although among Can-Am single-seater era champions were such drivers like Patrick Tambay, Alain Jones or Jacky Ickx, it was never supported so well as the original Can-Am and after five years came a decay which culminated in 1985 and 1986 seasons and meant final death of the famous Can-Am.
An attempt to bring Can-Am back was seen in 1998 when the new SCCA sanctioned USRRC created its own championship almost identical to IMSA. Usual WSC sportscars were renamed to Can-Am but that had really nothing to do with the 'true' Can-Am championship. USRRC series disappeared after only two years of its existence.