Sunday, February 12, 2012

Plans for Pan Am 2012

January 2012



Selection of entries for La Carrera Panamericana (LCP) for 2012 will begin on February 5 or shortly thereafter, according to the Organizing Committee. Thus far 24 entries from Canada and the U.S. with have been received by the North American Coordinator and forwarded to the Organizing Committee. There is no longer any limit by rule on entries from North America, Mexico, or Europe, as in the past. Last year there were more than 60 entries from Mexico. Again this year the race should be a sell-out.

Beginning February 5, entries should be made on line on the official Mexican website: You will be asked to attach digital photos of your car and crew when you register. If you do not have photos, because the car is not finished, simply include photos of your roll cage. Photos of the finished car may be submitted later. By rule, photos of roll cages in new cars should be submitted for preliminary approval. Final approval cannot be made, however, until the final inspection, just before the race begins in October.


At a recent meeting of interested parties, new applicants were again advised by Eduardo Leon, President Emeritus of LCP, to prepare cars other than Mustangs, Falcons, and Porsche 911/912. The Organizing Committee wants more diversity among the entries.

Last year, for example, there were more than 30 cars in the Historic “C” class, (V8 cars, 1955-1968) and most of them were Mustangs and Falcons. Dodges and Chevys were a small minority. The Historic “B” class (six cylinder cars, 1955-1965) was dominated, of course, by Porsche 911s.

Therefore, if you are new to LCP and want to enhance your chances of being invited to race, stay away from Mustangs, Falcons, and Porsche 911/912.

If you are considering building a car for this event, seriously consider a four-cylinder car, sedan or roadster, for the two classes: Historic “A” and Historic “A” Plus. Historic “A” is for four-cylinder cars made from 1955-1965, and Historic "A" Plus is for four-cylinder cars made from 1966-1972. Popular cars in this class include BMW 2002, Volvos, Alfas, and Datsun 510s. In the “A Plus” class, original engines up to two liters, or modern engines of up to 1600 cc, are allowed.

In some cases a later model car will qualify for the Historic classes if it is essentially the same as the model made in 1965 or 1972 for Historic “A” Plus. A 1974 BMW 2002, for example, is essentially the same as a 1972 model and would be allowed. The same “continuation” rule also applies to Historic “C” (where, for example, a 1967 Corvette with a 327 c.i. engine would be allowed) and Historic B (where, for example, a 1968 Porsche would be allowed).


Thus far the LCP’s route, dates, and the entry fee for 2012 have not been announced by the Organizing Committee. However, at this time, it is expected that the route for 2012 will be about the same as 2011 (probably from the Pacific resort of Huatulco or the city of Oaxaca to Zacatecas).

The dates will probably be October 19-27, and the entry fee will be a somewhat more than it was in 2011. If more background information about the entry fee is needed, please contact the North American Coordinator.

As soon as this information is available, a special CARRERA NEWS will be issued.


Last year was the first year that the top speed for the faster classes in LCP, like other rallies, was limited to around 144 MPH (233 KPH). Cars in Turismo Mayor, Turismo Production, Sports Mayor, and Historic “C” were obligated to use electronic ignition controls that limit RPM, along with an appropriate rear end (differential) gear. It was required that the top gear (4th or 5th) be 1:1 ratio. The various combinations of RPM and gear ratio were specified in the 2011 rules.

Because most of the speed stages are run on mountain roads where average speeds are usually around 80 MPH, the limit did not seem to have much effect on the standings or outcome of the race.


The entry fee covers the car, the driver, and the co-driver/navigator. The entry fee also provides a hotel room for two persons for the eight nights of the event, which are expected to be October 26-November 1, plus other items, such as a racing jacket, hat, poster, etc.

If additional hotel rooms or a longer stay are needed, these accommodations should be order by contacting Monica Grossmann at Hotel rooms are prepaid only and once paid, are not normally refundable. The race usually offers a luxury hotel option and all-inclusive rates at the beach hotels in Huatulco, if that is the starting city, and some of the cities along the route.

Most competitors will want to arrive in the starting city a few days early for final registration and technical inspection, which may begin as early as October 22. Again, these dates are speculation based on the history of the event.

If the race ends in Zacatecas, a beautiful, world-class city, competitors may want to spend an extra night or two there, as well.


Eighteen North Americans have committed to the sixth year of the Chihuahua Express, March 23-25, 2012. Another thirty or so Europeans and Mexican racers are expected to join the fun. Virtually all of the competitors have experience in La Carrera or have run the Express before. A few have signed up for the bracket class and the regularity T/S/D rally.

The Chihuahua Express is open to modern and vintage race cars with six-point roll cages. HANS devices are also required. A roll cage is not required for the tour or T/S/D “regularity” rally classes.

The Express comprises three days of racing – around 325 miles of top speed stages -- across some of the most remarkable landscapes in the world. It is open-road racing at its finest; only 145 miles from Texas.

Go to and click on English for more info, or click on to request a three-page FAQ via email.

Registration and technical inspection are quick, the cost is low ($2200 USD), and the time commitment is minimal. Just about any race car may be enrolled, and the race organization is professional. In only five years, it’s become a world-class event. It may not have the history of the Carrera, but it packs just about as much racing into only three days. Plus the racers return to the same four-star hotel each night.

The Chihuahua Express is affiliated with the Silver State Classic Challenge in Las Vegas, NV.

The Express Convoy will leave Santa Teresa, New Mexico (El Paso, Texas) on Wednesday, March 21 for the short 240 mile drive across the border and down to Chihuahua City.

The Express is an excellent way to learn how to stage rally Mexican style, because it uses about the same rules as La Carrera Panamericana. Training in stage rally timing, scoring, and procedures is offered.

There are many opportunities throughout the year to participate in stage rallies like the Pan Am and Express across Mexico. Most Pan Am cars are included in the “Open” class. Most rallies are only one day, but others are two or three days long. Some North Americans keep their rally cars in Mexico so they can fly down, race, and fly back over a long-weekend, leaving their car behind to be prepared for the next rally.


Need a race car for the Chihuahua Express, Pike’s Peak, or the Pan Am, and don’t want to build your own? Check with the following two friends of mine who build great cars and provide exceptional “arrive and drive” service:

Todd Landon. Contact Todd in Minnesota at +1-952-250-7948 or Todd’s Mustangs have won the Historic C class and finished in the top ten overall. He also has vast experience on Pikes Peak and now on the Bonneville salt flats.

Mats Hammarlund. Contact Mats at +011-52-415-1010308 or Mats’ cars have won the overall championship for the past three years in the “Pana.” Hammarlund Racing is located in San Miguel de Allende, which is 179 miles north of Mexico City, near Leon and Queretaro.

Have a car for sale? You may advertise on for $35 for the year, or $45 with a photo. Contact the webmaster,, to make the arrangements. I will also feature your ad at least three times in CARRERA NEWS. You may also advertise on the official web site at no cost.

There is no charge to post an ad in CARRERA NEWS for those ISO a co-driver, crew members, or a ride. Only “companionship” offers are disallowed. Try


Gerie Bledsoe
1-650-525-9190 (dial as a U.S. number)

U.S.P.O. address:
PMB 68 B
220 N Zapata Hwy Ste 11
Laredo, TX 78043

Mexican address:

La Quinta Prolong. 5-A
San Miguel de Allende
37700 GTO

USA: 1-310- 860-69 59

©Gerie Bledsoe 2011-2012