Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Carrera News from Gerie Bledso

Carrera News

May 2008










Registration for the 2008 Pan Am rally has been closed. This is the second straight year that the event has been full. A heavy registration from Europe, especially Germany, is a primary reason.

There are 54 paid entries from Canada and the U.S. The official web site is listing a total of 94 entries.

One of the entries is Stig Blomqvist, the Swedish rally champion for many years and WRC winner. He will drive a '64 Studebaker fabricated by Mats Hammarlund Racing in San Miguel de Allende.

The Pan Am starts on Oct. 24 in Tuxtla Gutierrez (Chiapas) and ends in Nuevo Laredo on Oct. 30. Registration for 2009 will open next February 1.


Final plans are being made for the Carrera fiesta in South Pasadena this weekend. Around forty Carreraistas and friends have made plans to attend. We are also working on a little reunion at the Monterey Historics on August 16 at a site near Laguna Seca.

What about other parts of the county?


Eleven or twelve colorful Carrera cars will race to the top of Pike’s Peak on July 20along with five cars from the Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing Club. Pan Am entrants include: D. Allen, G. Bledsoe, R. Carungi, J. Daniels, R. Davis, C. Johns, T. Landon, D. Mockett, C. Salyer, and M. Sharp. A navigator is optional. Anglica Fuentes, however, will be Mr. Mockett’s co-piloto.

G. Bledsoe is looking for a navigator for his “new” Chevy II Nova rally car.

Registration is July 15. Practice is July 16-17-18. July 19 is a day off, and the race up the mountain takes place on July 20. The course is 12.5 miles; all but two miles are paved. The elevation goes from 9000 feet up to over 14,000. Oxygen is optional!

This is a rare opportunity. There may never be another chance for us to take part in this famous event.


The Coyote Convoy will gather in Laredo, Texas, at the Marriott Inn on Friday, Oct. 17 at 9 PM. The convoy will cross the border the next morning at 6 AM for the drive down to San Miguel de Allende.

Convoy participants will be welcomed in San Miguel at a special reception, followed by an optional gala fundraising banquet. After the banquet, convoy participants are invited to party at downtown clubs.

On Sunday our Carrera cars will be displayed in the main square in town, el Jardin, from 10 AM until 3PM. In addition to the Carrera car show, on Saturday the Concurso will have venues for vintage and collectible cars, racecars, and motorcycles.

The Concurso plans to raise $50,000 over two years for three or four charities who to provide assistance to children and families in need in the local area.

The Convoy and Concurso are open to all motor sports enthusiasts with prior approval. If you or a friend want to drive or fly down to San Miguel to be part of the festivities, please let me know at

A discounted hotel package will be offered to participants in the convoy and Concurso. Additional information about the Concurso is available at


To be successful in this event a Pan Am car must do three things well:
1. drag race
2. road race
3. commute

The car will be launched five or six speed times a day from a standing start, so it’s a drag race against the clock for a half mile or so. The drag race then turns into a road race – mostly through the mountains on paved roads – for 5 to 15 miles. At the end of the day and in the mornings, the car must also be comfortable driving in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic. A car with a lumpy cam, sticky clutch, and weak cooling system will not be happy inching along trying to find the main square on a warm afternoon.

The Carrera Panamericana is a true endurance race. To reach the finish line in Nuevo Laredo, the cars must be well-prepared and reliable. At least 1/3 of the cars break down along the route. Some are repaired and rejoin the race, while others are consigned to trailers and tow trucks. Highly stressed engines and trick racing parts tend to implode first.

Alternators, electrical systems, radiator hoses, fuel pumps, and fan belts should be given special attention. Electric “puller” fans behind the radiator seem to work better. Properly installed fan shrouds also help to cool the engine.

The Pan Am uses roads that are mostly above 5000 feet in altitude. Many stages are 7000 feet or higher. High altitude means several things: the carburetor must be adjusted or re-jetted at the end of the first day (in Oaxaca) and at lunch the last day, before we go down the mountain into Nuevo Laredo. The cooling system must be more efficient, because the air at high altitude is thinner and less capable of absorbing and dissipating heat. Also, the engine must be protected from vapor lock, which is also more common at high altitude. And most importantly, good brakes and brake pads are imperative, especially when coming down a mountain.

Also, the car must have an engine (cam shaft) that produces mid-range torque to climb the mountains and negotiate tight corners. Higher compression also helps. When launching the car at 7000+ feet, don’t press the accelerator to the floor until the engine is well off the line and running smoothly. Too much fuel will flood the engine. Cars with cold- or ram-air induction for the air cleaner will perform much better at high altitude.


San Luis de Potosi (SLP) is a major city on the main highway from Nuevo Laredo, Texas to Mexico City—the route of the Coyote Convoy. The city dates back to the 1500s. It is only 80-90 miles north of San Miguel de Allende.

SLP was a stop on the old silver trail to Mexico City down from Zacatecas and other mining towns in the north. It has played an important role in Mexican history. Today it is a city of heavy industry, distribution, and transportation.

Like most 16th century Spanish/Mexican colonial cities, it has well-preserved historical center and main square with an impressive cathedral and old government buildings.

For hotels, AAA recommends the Holiday Inn, Country Inn, or the Westin, the luxury option. Holiday Inns in Mexico are several steps up from the same chain in the US. Information about the Carrera hotels is not released until a week before the event.


The Carrera Panamericana is a serious motor sports event that involves driving at high speeds through the mountains and plains of Mexico--for seven full days. As such, it is inherently dangerous. Even the transit stages--through regular traffic--can be dangerous. Participants, even those in the unofficial “tourist” class, should make sure that their car and bodies are prepared adequately, and that they drive carefully. Every driver who has not raced in competition should take a high performance driving or racing course to learn proper car control techniques. They should not exceed 70-80% their ability to maintain good car control, especially when the road conditions are marginal or at high speeds. All participants will be required to sign a waiver holding the organizers harmless for any accidents.

Just remember: nothing counts unless you finish the Pan Am, and just finishing this event under your own power is a significant accomplishment.


Co-piloto needed for the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb. Practice navigating and ride to the top with Gerie Bledsoe. He won’t break any records, but it will be another epic adventure. or 650-726-9890. The cost is moderate.

Co-pilot needed for La Carrera Panamericana? Mechanics or truck drivers needed? Advertise here for free.


Gerie Bledsoe
North American Coordinator

La Carrera Panamericana
677 Highland Ave.
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
650-726-9890 (home office)
650-726-9599 (fax)
650-867-9488 (mobile)

La Carrera Office
Ave. Lindavista 312

Col. Lindavista, Del. G.A. Madero

CP 07300 Mexico DF


+52-55-5586-6898 (tel.)

+52-55-5754-6052 (fax)

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