Believe it or not, it soon will have been 50 years since Don Nichols rolled his first and radically designed Shadow racing car onto the track. On July 22-26, 2020, Nichols’ various Shadows will be gathered and featured at the 2020 WeatherTech International Challenge with Brian Redman, a vintage racing weekend at the Road America circuit, the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, track has announced.
“We are extremely proud to announce that the event will pay tribute to the UOP Shadow with this 50th Anniversary celebration,” said Road America special consultant George Bruggenthies, who added that the weekend also will include a special Porsche racing reunion.
“Road America is poised to usher in the celebration with a racer’s reunion, races for club and pro series-vintage, including F1 and F5000, historic and contemporary racers; a concours with expert and people’s choice awards, track touring, parade laps and a vendor marketplace.”
The track promises “a complete display” with all of the Shadow cars, as well as team members including 1974 Can-Am series champion Jackie Oliver.
“For those unaware, Shadows were developed at a company founded by Don Nichols in 1969 called Advanced Vehicle Systems. They were originally designed by Trevor Harris and entered under the Shadow Racing Inc. banner.”
UOP was short for the Universal Oil Products company that sponsored the cars in Can-Am racing. The cars drew attention not only for their design, but for their black bodywork and the black uniforms worn by the team members.
“The first Shadow, the Mk.I, was entered in the Can-Am series with George Follmer and Vic Elford behind the wheel,” Road American noted in its announcement. “The Mk.1 featured an innovative design, using very small wheels for low drag and although the car was quick, it was not the most reliable car in the field.
“New designs piloted by Jackie Oliver and Brian Redman saw impressive results in the early ’70s before embarking into Formula 1 and prior to the Can-Am Series being shortened in 1974.”