Saturday, February 28, 2009


February—March 2009


Eduardo “Lalo” Leon, the president of La Carrera Panamericana, announced this week that thirty-nine competitors have already signed up for the event. That number includes a dozen from North American. That’s an encouraging number given the economic problems of the world.

Mr. Leon and the Organizing Committee are fully committed to having the event this year, in all its tradition and glory! Dates are October 23-29.

Last year the race was over-subscribed with 105 entries. Eighty entries is actually the optimum level of participation.

It is reasonable to assume that the fall of the Euro and Peso in relation to the U.S. dollar and the poor economic conditions will reduce registrations. However, since the dollar will buy 30% more in Mexico, that will help mitigate the pain for some competitors.

By the rules of the event Canada and the U.S. (North America) are allocated forty entries – Mexico 20 and Europe 20. The North American allotment has been filled for the past four or five years, and then some. Whether it happens this year is anyone’s guess. However, those who have already invested big money in building a Carrera car should be inclined to pony up the registration fee this year, but the recession may have it biggest impact in 2010, if there is no turn around.


Where? For the first time we will start way down in Huatulco. (wha-tul’-co) Huatulco is a beautiful resort area on the Pacific coast of Mexico in the state of Oaxaca. There is really no city of Huatulco, just a series of nine bays, thirty-six beaches, and numerous lagoons, flanked by low-rise hotels. The coast looks like Northern California, however the vegetation is tropical, like Hawaii’s.

Be prepared. Yes, because there is no real city, it will be impossible to buy supplies at a Costco or Walmart. It may also be difficult to find a muffler shop to weld up your roll cage, or other shops for repairs. Just make sure that you have what you need and your car is ready before you arrive in Huatulco.

Huatulco is six hours southeast of Oaxaca by car and served by a small airport. It is presumed that the Carrera racecars will spend the first night of the race in the city of Oaxaca. Huatulco is well off the original Pan Am highway, but it is possible that the cars will transit down the beach to Tehuantepec and then race north toward Oaxaca on the Pan Am highway.

Expect it to be warm, buggy, and muggy in Huatulco, with the threat of tropical storms.


The only mandatory fees and costs are:

1. Entry Fee. The management of the event does not publish the enter fee. However, you can save $500 by paying your entry fee early. For details, please hit “reply” or call 001-650-867-9488 The entry fee covers the driver, co-driver(s) and the car. The fee will go up significantly later in the year. You may reserve a spot on the grid for a non-refundable deposit of $500, and then must pay the balance actually due at the time of your final payment.

2. Rally license. You must purchase a Mexican rally/racing license for the calendar year. It will probably cost around $300 USD. The license includes a modest amount of medical insurance. You will be given a quick but free medical “exam” before you are approved to race in Mexico Contrary to what the rules say it seems that you do not need to have a racing license from your country to acquire the Mexican license. However, racing experience, training, and practice are highly recommended.

3. Mexican Car Insurance. You must provide proof of insurance on your service vehicle when you go through registration in Huatulco. The cost usually runs between $12-25 a day. There are several vendors, including, that broker these policies. Mexican insurance coverage works just like insurance in the USA. Having liability insurance on your racecar is also recommended but not required, especially if you plan to drive it more than 24 hours before the race begins.

The cost of the Carrera is really not bad for a “bucket-list” activity. Where else can you get two weeks of adventure for such a reasonable price?


Hotel rooms will cost the same as in 2008. Each entry receives one double room (two beds) for eight nights (23 October—29 October). A second room for that period costs $1200 USD. If you arrive early in Huatulco or stay later where ever the race ends, you will pay $150 per room per night.

A luxury option will be offered as well. In certain cities you will be able to book rooms in super luxury hotels like the Camino Real in Oaxaca, which is in an old convent. These rooms are an extra $150 per night. Normally there are four or five of these hotels, and they usually sell out fast. Hotel payments are non-refundable and non-transferable.


The Carrera Office in Mexico City has recently issued a set of amendments to the official rules of the race for 2009. If you want a complete copy, please ask. Here is a summary:

Historic A – “Austin Mini 997” changed to “Austin Mini.”

Historic A – original four cylinder up to 2000 c.c. or modern engine up to 1600 c.c.

Cars with 1600 c.c. may use five speed transmissions

No variable cam timing systems

Historic B – 2.4L Porsche and 4.2L Jaguar, Austin Healey, Maserati

5.0 liter for Chevy II, Valiant, Falcon

Historic C – original or similar transmissions, no straight-cut gears or sequential

No changes were announced for other classes.

All classes will be required to use a HANS device or Leatt brace. HANS is a brand name for a head and neck restraint system.

If you buy your HANS from Wine County Motor Sports, they will give you a free OMP helmet-HANS bag worth $89, free installation of the posts for the HANS in your helmet, and free shipping. They will also install posts in old your helmet for free, if you send it to them.

Wine Country Motor Sports is located in Sonoma, CA (Infineon Raceway) and Juniper, Florida, near the Moroso Motorsports Park. Call (800) 708-7223 to order or go to


Towing or driving your racecar to Mexico? Not racing but want to come along for fun and adventure? Join the Coyote Convoy. It’s free. Here’s the schedule:

Oct. 16 – 9:00 PM – meet in Laredo, Texas (Marriott Residence Inn)

Oct. 17 – 6:00 AM – cross the border and drive to San Miguel de Allende

Oct. 18 – 10:00-3:00 – display cars in San Miguel de Allende

Oct. 19 – 7:00 AM – depart for Oaxaca, spend the night

Oct. 20 – 7:00 AM – depart for Huatulco

There is no cost for participating in the convoy except for the hotels along the way, which are optional, and any group meals.

In addition to the Convoy, there will also be a LCP Tour offered by the former press secretary for the event, Rosa Maria Mondragón Fiesco. This tour is the only way to get close to the event as it stampedes across central Mexico.

With all the unhappy reports from Mexico, it is important for us to stick together on the way across the border and down to the start. It costs $37.00 to get a tourist sticker for your car, plus around $22 for your personal tourist card/visa, both good for six months. You may obtain the sticker for your vehicles at the border, at certain Mexican consulates, and on line at


Carrera cars will again be featured at the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb,

July 19, 2009. These cars will race up this majestic mountain with entries from

the Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing Club. This is the second time in 10 years that vintage cars have been allowed to run the granddaddy of American motoring events. They were quite popular last year.

Last year two Carrera cars, a ’64 “Olds” crewed by Doug Mockett and Angelica

Fuentes, and an Unlimited Class Subaru piloted by Kevin Jones, who won the Chihuahua Express, came home with trophies. The dynamic duo of Mockett and Fuentes won the Vintage Division, beating out some local boys from RMVR. Doug and Angie plan to return to defend their title.

The race is 12.4 miles up the mountain--from 9100’ to 14,300’ in elevation. There
are over 150 turns along the route. Eight or nine miles are paved; the rest is
exciting gravel. Off road SUV tires are recommended. The competitors practice on the mountain three mornings before the main event. The views are breathtaking. You must be in the area from July 14 to July 19 for registration, tech, practice, and the event.

The entry fee is $800. Do not register on the PPIHC web site or send your entry
directly to that organization. You can use the official entry form from their website or get one at Make out your check to RMVR and send the check and the entry form to:

c/o Tony Martins
6387 South Hill Street
Littleton, CO

All cars must be manufactured prior to 1972 and have run either the Pike’s Peak
before, the Carrera, or the Chihuahua Express. Other vintage racecars may enter as well.

The PPIHC is a professional event, with cash prizes. However, the vintage cars will not be running for cash, only glory.

In addition to the hill climb, RMVR is planning a big vintage car show in Manitou
Springs on Saturday July 18 before the race on Sunday. So get that Carrera car out
of the garage, shine it up, and head up to Manitou Springs (outside of Colorado Springs) next July. PPIHC is a major spectator event, too.

An attractive PPIHC brochure in pdf format is available, if you hit reply and ask.


All Carrera-eligible cars are invited to enter the SVAR vintage race at Road America, Elkhart Lake (WI), May 15-17, 2009. The Carrera cars will have their own dedicated run group. The weekend will include three practice sessions on Friday, a qualifying race on Saturday, and a feature race on Sunday. The entry fee is $475. The cars are also eligible to participate in the longer enduro race. Entrants must hold a current racing license from a recognized racing association.

Check the web site at or call Cal Jensen, SVRA Competition Director at 561-379-7751. Transport of cars from the Left Coast will be arranged.


All Carreraistas are invited to the third annual Carrera Corral at the Monterrey Historic Races, Saturday August 15, 2:00-6:00 PM at Tarpy’s Restaurant.

Around forty Pan Am fans gathered on February 21 at Club Sportiva in San Francisco to swap stories and here about the 2009 event. Seattle fans will be gathering on March 10.


Like all forms of motor sports, the Pan Am is extremely dangerous. It can also lead to a lifetime of addiction to road racing in Mexico.


If you change email addresses, please let CARRERA NEWS know. Once you register for the race, you will also receive CARRERA DRIVER, which contain much more detailed information about the race and how to prepare your car.

Feel free to send CARRERA NEWS to your friends and racing buddies. This newsletter is posted on the web site

Gerie Bledsoe
North American Coordinator
La Carrera Panamericana
The Chihuahua Express
677 Highland Ave.
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
650-726-9890 (home office)
650-726-9599 (fax)
650-867-9488 (mobile)

©2009 Gerie Bledsoe

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