Monday, July 11, 2011

Carrera News


JULY, 2011

A Midsummer Night’s Edition











It is official: the 2011 Pan Am race will stop for lunch and service in beautiful San Miguel de Allende on October 25. The city will welcome the 120 race cars with open arms.

Picked by Condé Nast magazine as one of the top ten places to visit in the world, San Miguel de Allende remains a unique city in Mexico and, indeed, the world. It is a mix of quaint Spanish colonial architecture and a hip, artistic culture. A recent article in a influential art magazine picked it as one of the top ten art centers of the world. The only question is: will all this success spoil the nature of this special place?

Founded in 1542, San Miguel de Allende (SMA) was a key stop on the famous silver road from the mines in northern Mexico to the capital in Mexico City and a trading center. Centuries later its citizens also played a key role in the beginning of the Mexican Independence movement in 1810, earning the city enduring fame.

The city was declared a national monument by the Mexican government in the 1920s, but it was facing hard times during this period, evidenced by a serious loss of population. Fortunately, because of its location and topography parts of the historic center city were not demolished to build modern highways through the city. Today its cobblestone streets look (and feel) pretty much as they did in prior centuries.

With the help of some adventuresome Americans the city was slowly revived in the 1940s and 1950s as a center for the arts. These Americans and their Mexican counterparts recognized the unspoiled beauty of the place. Its growth accelerated in the ‘80s and ‘90s as it because not only a major art center, but a retirement community for norteamericanos (Americans and Canadians), a trendy weekend retreat for wealthy citizens from Mexico City, and tourist destination. Recently, the city was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Situated at 6200 feet above sea level, SMA offers a moderate year-round climate --- average temperature in the 70s (F.) sunny, dry, and unpolluted by factories and foundries. Snow has never been seen by most natives, and the rain usually falls only in the summer months.

The Pan Am cars will approach SMA from the south, coming north from Morelia via Celaya. When they reach the city, they will go around the east side of town up the mountain and then enter the city down the Calle San Francisco. They will park for 15 minutes in the main square, directly front of the iconic church “La Parroquia,” to be saluted by city officials and citizens. After a brief ceremony the cars will exit via Aldama Street to the new city parking ramp on Calle Cardo for lunch and service.

After lunch the Pan Am will head north to Dolores Hidalgo to run speed stages on the mountain highway to Santa Rosa and their destination for the night, the university city of Guanajuato. (See last month’s edition.)


Never raced in Mexico? Concerned about public safety and security, the food, and ambience? Join us for the Pan Am Pre-Race Tour, Sept. 8-13 in San Miguel de Allende. We will spend three or four days talking about the event and its unique protocols, and visiting some of the most famous speed stages. Above all, we will check out at least five of the cities along the route. Want to show your significant other a good time? Bring her/him along. SMA is a great spa and shopping town, too. The registration fee is only $450. A deposit of $300 by August 1 will hold your place. You may also participate Sept. 9-12, if you are pressed for time. A schedule and info regarding hotels are available. or call 1-650-525-9190 .


Competitors towing their cars or having them transported to Huatulco in October and other interested parties are invited to participate in the 10th Annual Coyote Convoy. The Convoy will leave Laredo on Friday, October 14, a day earlier than usual. It will again stop for two nights in San Miguel de Allende, before going on to Oaxaca on Sunday and Huatulco on Monday, October 17.

Each competitor will be asked to fill out papers to have their race car and tow rig brokered across the border, instead of using temporary tourist permits. A procedure and forms for obtaining the necessary permits will be sent to all competitors soon.

Following the end of the race in Zacatecas, the convoy or portions of it will return to Nuevo Laredo to be brokered back across the border to the U.S. The convoy is open to all competitors and spectators.


The fifth annual Carrera Fiesta will be held August 20 at the Baja Cantina in Carmel, California, 5:30-8:00 PM in conjunction with the Historic Races and the various car shows and auctions. Tickets are $25 or $30 at the door. Our gracious host again will be Bill Hemmer, who will be driving a Porsche 914 in the event this year. Reserve a place by emailing Bill at

This Fiesta has become a major reunion of Carrera vets and those interested in the event. Normally, there’s a brief, informal program, maybe a short film, and a Q and A session about this year’s event.


Around 120 cars are expected to start the Pan Am this year in Huatulco. Of these, about 1/3 will suffer mechanical failure or an accident along the way, but most will eventually cross the finish line (meta) in Zacatecas seven days later.

Mustangs, Falcons, and Porsche 911/912s will again dominate the event. At last count there are 22-24 Mustangs-Falcons and 15-17 Porsche 911/912s registered. So about 1/3 of the entries will be these models. Oh, where did all the Chevys go?! Fortunately, there will be three or four midyear Corvettes in the event.

Of special interest are the three Chrysler 300s being prepared by Mr. Kevin Kelly in North Carolina. These cars are being prepared as a tribute to the 300s that dominate NASCAR , ending the Lincoln’s reign, and were to run in La Carrera. Unfortunately, the Pan Am was cancelled in 1955, depriving the Chryslers a chance to show their stuff in Mexico. The identically-prepared cars will be driven by Mr. Kelley (USA), Mr. Marc Noel (Belgium/USA), and Mr. Roberto Quiroz of Mexico.

The Chryslers are schedule to compete in Historic C, but depending on their engines, they could be allowed to run in the Original Pan Am class, just as the Mexican LT Special, which was built for the 1955 Pan Am and never ran, was allowed to compete in Sports Mayor, which is limited to cars built from 1940-1954.


The final, complete set of rules (“reglamento”) for the 2011 La Carrera Panamericana has not yet been promulgated. An early version of the rules that apply to the preparation of the cars was released in June, but we yet await the final rules.

As posted last month in CARRERA NEWS, the speed of five classes will be limited by two specified combinations of tire size, rear end gear ratio (differential), and RPM rev limiter chip. The resulting limits on top speed are: Turismo Production (144.6 MPH), Turismo Mayor (146.6 MPH), Sports Mayor (142.8 MPH), and Historic C (142.8 MPH). 144.6 MPH=232.6 KPH, and 142.8 MPH=229.8 KPH, according to the information provided by the committee.

According to the preliminary rules, the cars must use either:

a) a 3.50 rear gear, 26.2” tires, and a 6600 RPM chip = 144.1 MPH/231.9 KPH, OR

b) a 3.70 rear gear, 26.2” tires, and a 7000 RPM chip =144.6 MPH/232.6 KPH

The Organizing Committee has been asked to permit any combination of rear gear, tires, and RPM chip that limits the speed to the maximum set for each class. The Committee is also expected to issue penalties for violations of these new limits.


Bag O Nails, 1966 Mustang GT 350 R

“Bag O Nails” is a 1966 Mustang GT 350 R clone maintained by Mustang guru Todd Landon with the intention of winning the Historic class on La Carrera and other events. The car was built from a bare shell in 2007 utilizing the very best of everything, and with the possibility of reverting to FIA homologation spec after the event. This car is simply the best prepared, fastest (420BHP) and most reliable Historic C Mustang alive, and is now for sale to a serious competitor. A lot of work has been done (weight reduction operation) to bring it to the highest standards.

2007: La Carrera Panamericana : 6th overall and 2nd in Historic C
2008: La Carrera Panamericana: 6th overall and 1st in Historic C
2010: Chihuahua Express: 5th overall and 1st in Historic C
Pikes peak: 2nd in Historic class (just beyond Doug Mockett)
La Carrera Panamericana: 4 times on the daily podium with at the end the 4th place in Historic C. Despite the very high level of competition this year, most of the time we finished in the top 15 overall

For more detailed info please phone or email.
Phone : +32497495495 or email

’53 Studebaker Commander. $120,000. Finished to your specifications: color and FIA seats and racing harness fitment. This car won the La Carrera Panamericana championship in 2008 and qualified first in 2010. Finish will be as good/better than 2010.

The car has been re-bodied and completely rebuilt since the 2010 event. It is now even faster and safer. The price includes a spares package and delivery/service is available. A build sheet is available. Completely Carrera-legal in all respects and guaranteed to pass all tech inspections. Needs nothing but you to win again. A rental arrangement for 2011 is a possibility. Contact Bill Beilharz, or 602-320-5173 (Phoenix).

’68 Porsche 911. Guards Red 2.0L. Full Cage, Fire System, Kirkey Seats, 5 Point Belts, 27 gal Fuel Cell, MSD, Fender Mounted Extra Oil Cooler, Smart Racing and Elephant Suspension. Fully sorted – Porsche Racing Ready. Built 2 cars at once, the sister car to this one in 2003 finished 9th overall. Call 512-346-1880 or email
Over $55,000 invested– asking $26,500.

‘66 Sunbeam Tiger. Ford 302 .060 over. High flow head . Roller rockers. Heavy-duty valve springs. Racing pistons, 10.5 to 1 compression. Racing cam. Heavy-duty oil pump . Edelbrock F4B manifold . Single wire chrome alternator. MSD distributor, coil, and ignition. High flow water pump. Fluidyne aluminum radiator. Aluminum oil cooler. Braded stainless steel fuel and oil lines with Aeroquip fittings. Holley 650 cfm Double pumper with regulator. Headers from Sunbeam Specialties. Remote oil filter. Heavy duty racing clutch lightened flywheel. Engine was totally rebuilt and computer balanced with the flywheel and harmonic balancer, approximately 8 hours on the engine. Ford top loader transmission, Rebuilt by "Toploader Heaven". Custom made heavy-duty drive shaft . Welded rear end. Custom made Mark Williams one-piece solid rear axles. Dual Holley Blue fuel pumps with relays. ATL 15 gal. fuel cell. Dual inline filter screens, Summit racing canister type fuel filter. Stainless steel fuel flex lines with Aeroquip fitting. $33,000 or b/o. Contact: Ed (415) 341-4965;

Photos and additional information are available at Click on Classifieds. The advertisers assume all responsibility for their ads.



The views expressed in CARRERA NEWS are those of the author and may not (probably don’t) represent the views of the Organizing Committee. The author is a competitor and any advice he offers may constitute a conflict of interest.

All forms of motor sports are inherently dangerous, and La Carrera Panamericana is no exception. It is a long, hard endurance race at high speeds mostly along mountain roads. Mechanical failures are common, accidents not uncommon, and serious injury and even death are quite possible.

Cars should be carefully prepared, with an emphasis on safety (brakes, seat belts, roll cage, etc.), and driven prudently. Drivers and navigators should remember that the most important goal of this event is to finish. Unless you finish, nothing else counts.


Gerie Bledsoe, Coordinator

La Carrera Panamericana and Chihuahua Express

USPO address: 220 N. Zapata Hwy Ste 11


Laredo, TX 78043

1-650-525-9190 (Home office)

Mexican phone number +52-415-185-8470

Mailing Address in Mexico (FedEx, UPS only):

La Quinta Prolong. 5-A

Centro-Ojo de Agua

San Miguel de Allende

37700 GTO


Email:, Skype: gerie.bledsoe

Carrera car number 395, Chevy II Nova, Historic C (1999-2011)

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