Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Hardest Test

Original writing by James K. Lamona AUTO SPORT Review, United States, March of 1953.

The 3114 km mexican road that stretches south to north from Tuxla to Juárez is, according to Alfred Neubauer, a combination of Tripoli's Grand Prix. the italian "Mille Miglia", the german "Nurburgring" and the Le-Mans 24 hrs. Herr Neubauer should know, for it was under his leadership as the Competition Director of Mercedes Benz German Teams that they defeated the most formidable english, italian and french participants in europe for the last 25 years.

Exactly, what makes The Mexican Road Race so tough? It is a combination of several things. The race begins on a tropical climate, where the temperature is high and humid and continues along a road that goes from sea level to a suffocating 3 thousands meters altitude! Temperature variations go from 34 celsius degrees to almost 2 degrees before freezing all in just 72 hours.

Even the most careful motor tuning, carburetion tests and spark plug selection need alterations every 160 km approximately. Motors that ran miraculously at 1000 mts sounded almost dead at 3000, and drivers that refused to change cooler spark plugs, soon realized after Durango the importance of this.

The Mexican Race was very though for the drivers as well as for the equipment. The road is paved with a mixture of volcanic ash and this substance that is highly abrasive will turn a perfectly new passenger car tier to a worn out one in a 1000 km distance.