Saturday, July 7, 2012




JULY 1 2012



The 6th Annual Carrera Fiesta will be held in Carmel, California on August 18, 2012 from 5:00-8:00PM, at the Baja Cantina just outside of Carmel, the same place as last year and the year before. Drinking and kicking tires will go on for a while after the formal ending. Our gracious host is Bill Hemmer.

Please let Bill know if you plan to attend. Pay for your tickets ahead of time, too. This is one cool event. I won’t miss it.


Very little news is being made available about the 25th anniversary edition of the Pan Am. As noted before, the organizers decided to start the race in the non-traditional city of Veracruz, which disappointed some people and included San Luis de Potosi on the route.

Rumor has it that the cars will be prepared and inspected in the Veracruz Convention Center, and that the event will not stop for service in San Miguel de Allende. Other than those rumors, there’s little more to report.

The entries have finally been posted on the official web site. It says the 2012 rules are also there, but they would not download to my computer.

There are 32 entries from the U.S. and Canada. A couple of those may not be able to make it, however. These days, I am lucky if they allow me thirty.


Congratulations have been pouring in to Chacho Medina’s office in Mexico City about the last Chihuahua Express. The overall winner of the event, Eduardo Henkel (BMW M3), was absolutely euphoric about the event, the roads, the timing, and the high level of security.

The date next year will be April 12-13-14 (Friday-Saturday-Sunday) OR THE NEXT WEEKEND. Unfortunately, Chacho cannot pick the same week each year because it may conflict with the Easter holidays in Mexico.


During course of the year, there are numerous stage rallies in Mexico. If you hold a FMAD license you may participate in any of them. In some rallies like the recent Rally de Volcanes in May a special class for Pan Am cars is included.

The Rally de Volcanes was a great event. Beautiful town (Tapalpa, Jalisco), great people, and great roads. We had time to socialize, see the sites, and relax, unlike some other events where you are always on the go or working on your car. Most importantly, it seemed that the organizers appreciated all who signed up.

Some Americans and Europeans are leaving their Pan Am cars down here at a shop in Mexico and flying down to use them for these rallies and for the big show in October.


At this point we do not have a firm date for when the Coyote Convoy will leave Laredo for the drive down to San Miguel de Allende. The date will be as early as October 11 or as late as October 13. It depends on how the convoy comes across the border: (1) with tourist permits, as we have done for 12 years, or (2) by using the services of a Mexican Customs (Aduanas) agent (broker) as the Race Director of the Pan Am has proposed.

Personally, I like the Temporary Import Permit (TIP) because the document can be obtained via the Internet before you leave home, and they only cost $65 dollars. At the border, they cost only $35 or so. Of course, if you drive into Mexico with a TIP you still need to stop at the border to obtain a tourist visa since the TIP is only good if you have a tourist visa. So, if you get the TIP by the Internet, you also must stop at the border and get a visa.

The organizers of the event said they wanted all the racecars to come into Mexico through a Customs Agent because of real or imagined problems with the company that provides the third-party liability insurance for the event. I have been assured by others that this is a non-issue. Hopefully, this will be resolved soon.

The Pan Am Car Show in San Miguel de Allende, which we held for four years, is back on again due to popular demand, and the fact that the Pan am will not stop in San Miguel, as it did last year. Another factor is – it’s a much shorter, one-day drive to Veracruz on Monday; there’ll be no overnight in Oaxaca going down there.

My preferred schedule for the Convoy is:

Thursday, October 11 – meet in Laredo 6:30 PM, Residence Inn by Marriott, Lost Oak Rd.

Friday, October 12 – cross the border at 7:00 AM, arrive San Miguel around 6:00 PM

Saturday, October 13 – R and R in San Miguel (maybe tour two or three speed stages to Guanajuato)

Sunday, October 14 – Pan Am Car Show, main square, San Miguel from 10:00 AM—4:00 PM

Monday, October 15 – drive to Veracruz 8:00 AM--3:00 PM

The Convoy is open to spectators and others with an interest in the event. Each competitor is responsible under the rules for getting his car safely to the start of the race. The race organization does not endorse or support the convoy, the stop in San Miguel, or other aspects of the Convoy.


Racing down in Mexico is a mystery for some North Americans and Europeans who have never visited the country. It takes a while to adjust to the altitude – over 2000 meters, the food, the roads, the culture, and a stage rally, Mexican style. To help people adjust, I started the Carrera Tour last year. By all reports, the participants enjoyed their visit to San Miguel last September.

Why San Miguel? Most importantly, it’s a very safe town, and a major tourist destination in the world. It’s really unlike any in Mexico, because of the blend of Norther American, European, and Mexican cultures. Also you can walk anywhere in town 15 minutes, or take a cab for $2.

Iin 25 minutes we can tour three of the best speed stages of the Pan Am, plus the city of Guanajuato where some competitors got hopelessly lost last year in the tunnels under the city. We will also check out some speed stages near Queretaro.

SMA is a world-class tourist destination, a place that women in particular love. Quaint hotels, boutiques, great restaurants, art galleries, spas by the dozens, inexpensive prices, and other things chics really dig. For the guys, we have two shops that build and support cars for the Pan Am, NASCAR, and other rallys. SMA also offers some neat saloons, along with 24 churches for the more pious.


Speaking of San Miguel, we are close to announcing a week of motorsports and car shows in San Miguel for July 2013.


A list of U.S. and Canadian competitors will be sent to those on the CARRERA DRIVER email list. If you want a copy, let me know. You can also find it on the official web site:


ISO Co-Driver for 2012 Pan Am. Experienced driver needs a funded co-driver for this year’s Pan Am. I have participated in the past 13 Pan Am races and know my way around. I need a co-driver who wants to have fun, without risking life and limb. Rally experience is preferred but not essential. The perfect candidate should not be too tall, too heavy, or too square. Listening to my Pan Am stories and jokes is required. A decision must be made soon. Contact me at 650-525-9190 or

’54 Studebaker Champion. Original, un-cut, rust-free car. 12 volt electrical system, new brakes, master-cylinder, etc. Chevy 350 V8 with 700R automatic transmission with overdrive. Engine was just overhauled. $900 in new Cragar rims and Bridgestone tires. Rear axle from 62-63 Hawk GT with posi-traction. I did not have the heart to turn such a nice car into a Pan Am racer. Located in Northern California. Buy it for what I have invested: $12,980. Free delivery possible outside of California.

’53 Studebaker. The "Sarmiento" car, a well known and multiple Carrera Panamericana winner. Not a newly build car but an original Studebaker chassis. Competitive and well prepared car. A top-5 finisher in the right hands. Meets the latest Carrera regulations and is in excellent condition.

The car resides in Mexico and is ideal for Chihuahua Express and/or Carrera Panamericana 2012!

Contact info:

RMD Bvba

Marc Devis
Tel: +32/ (0) 475 422790 Email:

Coca Cola Pam Am Buick – this is a replica of the 1954 Buicks that ran in the original Pan Am. It is reported to be a good driver and easy to update for the Pan Am, Original Pan Am. Located in Monterey, California. $24,000 USD.

Clyde Morter – (Illinois) is looking for a ride as co-piloto in LCP 2012 and is willing to share some expenses. His brother, Guy, is also looking for a paid job as a tow truck driver or mechanic. Both have Pan Am experience.

Ray Stephens – (Arizona) is looking for a funded driver for his Porsche 911 in this year’s Pan Am. Ray has participateb twice in the Chihuahua Express but his driver could not make the Pan Am this year. A highly experienced navigator may be available, too.

For email addresses and phone numbers, please contact me.


The views expressed in CARRERA NEWS are those of the author and may not (probably don’t) represent the views of the organizers of any event in Mexico. The author is a competitor in both of the main events, and any advice he offers may be considered to possibly constitute a conflict of interest.

All forms of motor sports are inherently dangerous, and road racing in Mexico is no exception. The Pan Am and the Chihuahua Express are long, hard endurance races at high speeds mostly along mountain roads. Mechanical failures are common, accidents not uncommon, and serious injury and even death are quite possible. Addiction to this type of racing is also 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
San Miguel de Allende