**CHIHUAHUA EXPRESS REMATCH!
Doug Mockett (USA) and Gabriel Perez (MX) will be the prime contenders for the top prize for Pan Am cars in the 2013 Chihuahua Express, April 19-21. Perez won the Carrera Panamericana handily last October in his new Studebaker. Expect Paul Hladky (USA) to be up in front as well.
Thus far it looks like around fifty entries, with twenty-two from the US and Canada, a couple from Europe, and one crew from Australia. One of the most interesting cars entered will be Roger Furrer’s rare, aluminum-bodied ‘62 Triumph TR4 with a 2.2 liter engine. Roger, originally from Switzerland, lives in Scotland.
A convoy will leave El Paso on April 17 for the 250 mile trip to Chihuahua City, and another convoy will cross at Presido, TX the same morning for that quick, 145 mile ride along the road the competitors race on Sunday.
Organizer Chacho Medina has announced that the cars will be invited to run an optional “pre-qualification” stage on a 13 KM stretch of the original Pan Am Highway just north of Chihuahua the city on Thursday morning. This is just about all that is left of the original highway from Chihuahua to Juarez. It will offer some of the locals a chance to see these cars in action.
The final rules will be out within the week, but no significant changes are expected. Entries for will be accepted up until the day the race starts, so if you trying to finish your car, that’s the ultimate deadline.
Hasta Chihuahua, y’all!
**LCP REGISTRATION OPENS
Competitors may register on the official web site www.lacarrerapanamericana.com.mx. Follow this procedure:
Home Page, click on drop-down menu, “Participo”
Click on “Hoja de Registro”
Click on “Descargar” at bottom of page (or install or update Adobe Acrobat first)
Fill in the entry form in Adobe
Click on Submit
Send form with photos attached to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attach high quality photos of the piloto, co-piloto, and the race car. Interior and exterior photos of the car are required. The interior photo should show the seats and main elements of the roll cage, especially if you have car new to LCP. This will help the inspectors to advise competitors what to make changes to their cages before they show up in Veracruz, if necessary.
If your car is being fabricated now, include a diagram of the roll cage for preliminary approval. If you follow the rules for cages in FIA, Appendix G, Group N, you should be OK.
For the amount of the early “discounted” entry fee (due before March 15) and how to pay please inquire via email. North American competitors will make their payments to Andrea Leon, the daughter of Eduardo Leon and Monica Grossman, who lives in Los Angeles.
**LCP DATES CONFIRMED, ROUTE “TENTATIVE”
The LCP office has re-confirmed that the dates the race are Oct. 25-31. The following route is still marked, however, as “TENTATIVE.”
Veracruz, starts Friday, Oct. 25, 8:00 AM
San Miguel de Allende
Zacatecas, ends Thursday, Oct. 31, 4:00 PM
The LCP entry fee includes one double (two beds) hotel room for eight nights, Oct. 24-Oct 31. The race starts on October 25. Many competitors will arrive in Veracruz on Oct. 17 or 18. They will need a room for two or three extra nights. In addition, crew members will need rooms.
For hotel needs, contact Monica Grossmann a email@example.com.
If various racing teams want to be located in the same hotels in Veracruz or along the route, please notify Ms. Grossmann. This is especially useful for teams sharing the same support crew.
A small number of luxury hotel room are available in some cities at a premium rate of $160 extra a night. They fill up quickly with VIPS, so reserve soon.
Hotel assignments are normally distributed shortly before the race begins.
The 2013 rules for the event and the specifications for the cars have not been posted yet. Reportedly, the rules are still under discussion by the technical committee, which may finish its deliberations by the end of this month.
Not many changes in the rules are expected. However, Model A “three-window” Ford replicas may be allowed to compete in Turismo Mayor with five liter engines.
Here are some other possible rule changes or clarifications:
--one-piece aluminum racing seats, like those approved by SCCA, will be allowed
--Nomex underwear will be required under two- or three-layer racing suits
--Toyota bars (windscreen braces) will be required in coupes
--expect FIA Appendix J, Group N roll cage rules to be followed
--fuel cells are recommended, not required in the Historic classes (1955-1965 or Historic A Plus)
--a hand-held fire bottle should be mounted in reach of the co-piloto
--two red warning flags may be required in each car
--cages that have some of the support braces installed with “slip joints” and bolts may be allowed
Again, these are only possible changes and clarifications in the rules. For example, do not install a roll cage with slip joints in your car until you see that provision in the final rules posted on the official web site.
**FRANCO SOLDATI – RIP
Franco Soldati passed away last week in Mexico. Franco was one of the key players in the Pan Am back in the 1990s, until around 2002. In those years, the “Big Three” were Eduardo Leon, Loyal “Tio” Truesdale, and Mr. Soldati. Loyal Truesdale was the North American Coordinator, and left the Pan Am about the same time as Soldati.
When I met him for the first time in 1999, he was responsible for the hotel rooms. His operation was efficient. Each driver was given an envelope containing a list of the hotels and “chits” for their rooms in each hotel. His staff arranged express check-in at most of the hotels, a feature that virtually eliminated lines at the front desk. When we arrived in the next town, we simply handed the chit over at the express desk to his people in exchange for our room key. Slick!
Mr. Soldati later became the President of FMAD (FEMADAC) the Mexican racing federation.
**GREAT FILM ON ORIGINAL PAN AM 1953
If you have a chance, click on this link for some good film – news-reel type – of the race in 1953. It’s around 13 minutes. Shorter videos of other years are also available from this source.
**UNIFORM PATCHES FOR SALE
Iron-on patches for the Pan Am and the Coyote Convoy are available for a $10 USD each contribution to Los Amigo de Lupita Hernandez, the Mexican nurse who lost her legs when a US car went off the road in 2003, pinning her up against an ambulance. Pay with a check or via PayPal. Add two dollars for international postage. firstname.lastname@example.org. These patches may be affixed to a racing uniform, ball cap, or shirt with a hot iron. Get all four for a $25.00 donation. the other two are from Pike’s Peak and the Coyote Convoy car show in San Miguel de Allende.
**CARS FOR SALE AND RENT
‘54 Studebaker Commander. A Beautiful New Car.
355 cubic inch Chevrolet, full roller motor, Tremec wide ratio 5 speed. Winters Champ rear end w/ Diamond posi locker. 6 sets of gears. 355 Gears installed. Diff. cooler. Speedway Engineering sway bars, front and rear. Full floater hubs on 4 wheels, 5 on 5. NASCAR front suspension. Extra arms, spindles, bearings, heims. Wilwood Superlight XL brakes, Accubrake system, balance gauges, spare Coleman rotors. H and R radiator. Ohlin coil-overs. Spare springs. Fuel Safe cell, 22 gallon. Appleton Rack, MSD ignition, cockpit timing adjust. 2012 belts, and seats, nets, fire bottle, chrome(!) cockpit bottle. 2 complete sets of tires, 10 Toyo Tires and 10 wheels. Build pictures on request. This is a new car, never raced. $80,000 USD/BO. Contact Frank@systemsmechanical.com Phone 1-415-720-1482. Richmond, California.
It’s ready for the Chihuahua Express, April 19-21. What are you waiting for!?
Note: This is an exceptional opportunity – a solid, safe, fast car -- at a rock bottom price. You cannot duplicate this car and the pride of workmanship for the asking price. Besides that, it’s really sexy. The car may be seen at the Chihuahua Express in April. Buy it now and race it at the Express yourself. “Arrive and drive.” Special instruction in getting the most out of the car will be provided by the builder who will be in Chihuahua. The car has been tested on the roads and tracks in Northern California and is solid. This is the third Mexican rally car Frank Oliveto, a hot rob builder, has fabricated. He’s really got it right. It’s a beauty!
Any form of motor sports is dangerous and stage-rally racing in Mexico is no exception. It also may become addictive.
Gerie Bledsoe, North American Coordinator
La Carrera Panamericana and Chihuahua Express
USPO address: 220 N. Zapata Hwy Ste 11
Laredo, TX 78043
1-650-525-9190 (Home office, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico)
1-650-867-9488 (mobile, only in US)
Number in Mexico +52-415-185-8470
Carrera car: Chevy II, Nova, #395, LCP Historic C (1999-2012)
Border Challenge/Chihuahua Express, 2004-2012
Carrera HQ, Mexico City 1-310-860-6959 (dial as a U.S. number)
©Gerie Bledsoe 2013
San Miguel de Allende