Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The Long Haul
Ever seen a piece of highway stretch out so far in front of you that it just made you want to push the pedal to the metal see what she'll do? Well, it's that's the case you are going to love running the La Carrera for sure. There are some absolutely incredible high speed stages where you get to do exactly that... hit the gas and don't let up until the co-piloto says, "CHECKERED FLAD!" For a few of us it took place during what will be most certainly be some of the biggest La Carrera history ever written as we drove flat out right thru the middle of Mexico City.
Some days of La Carrera you really get to see what "endurance driving" is all about. While some of the speed sections may not seem very long by comparison there are some transit sections that are HOURS long. Even though they are transit sections there is no time to be dilly dallying so while using common sense (and the pedal on the right) you will be hauling the mail. Some of these transit sections are on tight twisty mountain roads while others find you traveling down beautiful freeways that look as if the could be in high tax county in the U.S. where the La Carrera speed limit is... whatever you want it to be!
There were numerous long straights that I remember and everyone of them beautiful but there is one section in particular that stands out. My co-piloto Jon says, "Ok, this next transit section is very, very long. Oh and did I tell you it's long? Jon begins reading the route book and he says, "You're going to love this... Go straight for the next two hours." It wasn't long until we came up over a crest and there before us was sections so long you could not see the ends of them on the horizon. You just have to see it to believe it. Jon and I laugh whenever we recall that day as we remember after an hour and a half of silence when Jon said, "OK, get ready for this... Right Zero." now go straight for another hour!" And sure as hell there was slight bend in the road. I had to laugh because on the slight bend there was some skid marks leading off the side of the road as if several drivers had dozed off possibly due to the lack of attention.
What a rush that memory gives me each time I remember it... cruising along with no side windows in a little 65 GT350 while doing 125 miles per hour doing exactly what I built this car to do. I couldn't help but remember a factory installed sticker in the glove compartment of my 68 Shelby GT500 that wasn't intended to be a joke. It says, "FOR SUBSTAINED SPEED OF 100 MPH FOR ONE HOUR OR MORE SEE OWNER'S MANUEL P.61." I kept remembering that sticker and telling myself, since Shelby raced in La Carrera years ago he would know what it's all about.