Monday, March 15, 2010

From The Desk Of Gerie Bledsoe

March 2010


**Hotel Accommodations
**Food and Beverage
**Fuel and Tolls
**Importing Your Vehicles into Mexico
**Mechanical Support


The official route of the Pan Am 2010 has not been officially announced, but it is expected to be Tuxtla Gutierrez, the traditional start of the event, down in the tropical part of Mexico. Tuxtla is a modern city of around 600,000 in the southern state of Chiapas.

It is also expected that the race will circumvent the nation’s capital, Mexico City.

The dates are firm: 22-28 October. The ending city is expected to be Nuevo Laredo, across the border from Laredo, Texas.


The deadline for the discounted entry fee of $6,000 is April 30. Last year the deadline was February 28. After April 30, the entry fee goes up $500.

The entry fee covers the racecar, driver(s), navigator(s), support crew, and provides eight nights of a double (two beds) hotel room in four or five star hotels. The driver and navigator also receive a racing jacket, plus other souvenirs.

Once the fee is paid, the application complete and accepted, each entry will be posted on the official web site Sometimes we must wait for photos of cars being fabricated for the event.

Owners of cars being built for the Pan Am should have the design for their roll cage reviewed.


For the past few years the Pan Am has had a great reception in Querétaro. Thousands turned out in the main square on Sunday afternoon to take photos, collect autographs, and view the cars--all under sunny skies.

Querétaro lies at 6,078 feet in altitude and is about about 2.5 hours north of Mexico City on Highway 57, the main north-south highway in Mexico. The population of the metro area is 825,000. Like most of these old colonial cities, it has a beautiful, historic downtown. It’s been designated a World Heritage Site.

Querétaro is famous for its opals and other gems. It is now a major industrial center. Passenger flights in and out of the city, however, are somewhat limited and expensive.


The only mandatory registration fees are:

1. Entry Fee. The fee covers any number of driver(s), co-driver(s) and the car. Competitors may reserve one of the thirty places allocated to North America (Canada and the U.S.) for a non-refundable deposit of $500, but then pay the total fee due at the time of their final payment.

2. Rally license. All drivers and navigators must purchase a Mexican rally license. It will cost $300 USD. The license includes a modest amount of medical insurance. Drivers and co-drivers will be given a quick but free medical exam before the race. Contrary to what the rules say, it seems that one does not need to have a racing license from their country to acquire the Mexican license. However, racing experience, training, and practice are highly recommended.

3. Mexican Car Insurance. Competitors must provide proof of insurance upon registration on their service vehicles. 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 the racecar is also recommended, but not required, if there are plans to test it before the race begins. Insurance coverage would not be valid while the car is in competition, of course.


1. Each entry—posted in the name of the car’s principal driver--will receive one double room (two beds) for eight nights (Oct. 21—28) at four/five star hotels at the starting city and along the route. Usually the driver and co-driver share this room. Having private rooms is also popular with modest guys.

Once the pre-registration process is complete (the entry fee has been paid and the application form is finished), competitors may make hotel reservations with Monica Grossmann in the Carrera Office Mexico City. The best way is to email her at Monica is the business officer for the race and the wife of the organizer, Eduardo Leon. Interested parties may also call a U.S. telephone number 01-310-860-6950 to reach the office.

Please note that once the hotel rooms are paid, one cannot receive a refund or transfer the rooms to another crew.

2. Additional hotel rooms are usually $150 a night for regular hotels. Luxury hotels in some cities are sometimes available for $150 more ($300 total per night). Some of the luxury hotels fill up fast because they are very small.

Most competitors and their crew members will arrive two or three nights before the event starts, so they must pay $150 for the extra nights or make other arrangements.

An extra room usually costs $1200 for the eight nights of the race in the regular hotels. Most drivers stay in the same hotels as their crews, because it is far more convenient at night to service the racecar.

If one car’s crew wants to stay in the same hotel as another crew, please make this clear to Ms. Grossman, as the competitors are sometimes assigned to as many as four or five hotels in the same city.


The expense for food and beverage varies enormously with individual budget, taste, and selection of restaurant. One may eat very cheaply in Mexico, or pay hotel prices, which are somewhat less expensive than Europe or US. Most people budget about $60 a day for food, but some hotels will charge $25 just for the buffet breakfast. The fall in the value of the peso will help in this category. It is currently around 12.66 peso for one U.S. dollar.


PEMEX gasoline costs $2.60-2.80 a gallon. Plan to pay in pesos, but more stations are accepting credit cards. The race covers normally around 1960 miles -- say 2000 -- counting wrong turns and side trips. Diesel fuel is generally available, but it is the old-fashioned high-sulfur kind.

Tuxtla Gutierrez is around 1400 miles from Laredo, Texas.

The race uses a lot of toll roads, and they are relatively expensive. Budget $200 for the racecar and $400 for the tow truck and trailer for the trip down and back. (Pesos only.)


Importing a car on a temporary tourist permit costs $35 (at the border or consulate) or $60 on the Internet (credit card only). Importing a car with the services of a Mexican customs broker will cost $300-1200. This fee is highly negotiable.

A special arrangement in Nuevo Laredo for the Coyote Convoy will be offered. A customs broker is recommended if (1) all the owners of the vehicles are not present at the border or (2) the team is carrying a lot of pare parts, extra tires, engines, etc.


From California or Washington State, shipping on a transport truck down to Mexico and back to the truck’s headquarters runs around $5,000.

Unfortunately, there is no truck coming (yet) from the Midwest and east Coast.

Most Europeans ship their cars to the port of Vera Cruz. Others ship their cars to an American port (Houston or New Orleans) and drive or tow them down. Tow trucks may be rented in Texas.


Competitors may arrange mechanical support in Mexico for $1500-3000, or they can pay local mechanics by the hour. Some of the transporters will provided mechanical support for an additional fee, of course. Towing within Mexican can also be arranged. One team of Mexican mechanics and welders usually follow the race. They will repair cars on a retainer basis or by the hour.


Towing or driving a racecar to Mexico? Join the Coyote Convoy. Here’s the preliminary schedule:

Oct. 15 – 9:00 PM – meet in Laredo, Texas (Marriott Residence Inn)

Oct. 16 – 6:00 AM – cross the border and drive to San Miguel de Allende (540 miles)

Oct. 17 – 10:00-3:00 – display racecars in San Miguel de Allende

Oct. 18 – 7:00 AM – depart for Oaxaca or Vera Cruz (depends on the starting city)

Oct. 19 – 7:00 AM – depart for Tuxtla Gutierrex or other starting city

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


As last year, a HANS devices or other approved (FIA/SFI) head and neck protection system will be required in all classes this year.


Chihuahua Express, March 19-21

Silver State Classic, May, May 14-17 -- 702-631-6166

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, June 27 (

Monterrey Historics, Carrera Fiesta, August 14 -- 650-726-9890


Gerie Bledsoe
North American Coordinator
La Carrera Panamericana and Chihuahua Express
677 Highland Ave.
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
650-726-9890 (home office)
650-726-9599 (fax)
650-867-9488 (mobile)
Carrera car number: 395, Historic C


Control Hidráulico said...

Any special plans for Queretaro, as it was designated Carrera City? now downtown main streets are closed all Sunday and this could be used as an advantage for additional events to make the Carrera arrival more spectacular.

shelby said...


Do you have a correspondent in Chihuahua this year? Travel conflicts prevent us from racing this year, but I'm still craving info. Thanks for all your hard work!

Gary Faules said...

Shelby you can contact me at and I have all the contact and info you could possibly desire.