Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Carreras News, September 2012

For Sale

Carreras News

September, 2012

                                                         Happy Independence Day Mexico!


The evolution of the Pan Am continues this year with three or four more pro drivers from Europe showing up to run in an amateur event. Does it add luster to the event, discourage amateurs, or both? Given the level of talent being recruited, maybe the rank amateurs should be flattered to be allowed to race with these guys. Maybe it should be known as a “pro-am”?

Kenny Brack from Sweden (car #110) raced 59 races and won 5 races in CART including the Indy 500 in 2000-2002 before a near fatal crash ended his Indy car career. Now he races in less dangerous events, including the X Games.

Stefan Johannson, another Swede, also shows up on some LCP entry lists. He participated in Formula One in 1980, then 1983-91, driving for Ferrari, McClaren, or other teams in a total of 79 races. He finished on the podium 12 times.

Of course, there is Jochen Mass, from Germany, another former Formula One driver, who nursed a Mustang with a bad cylinder to a top ten finish last year. This may be his year to capture Historic C and be a contender for the overall podium. One wonders if the organizers will list him among the top five finishers. Jochen is a true believer in the Carrera ethos.

Jonkheer Gijsbert van Lennep (say that after three margaritas) will be racing the “State of Art” Porsche 356 in Original Pan Am. He had eight Formula One races, and raced LeMans for seven years, serving as a co-driver with some more well-known drivers, including Jacky Ickx. He also won the British sports car championship one year.

Michel Jourdain (Mexico), who won the Carrera two years ago, is listed as a competitor on the official web site; however, his participation may be pending sponsorship. Jourdain qualified for the Indy 500 this year, finishing in the top twenty. He has been active in the IRL, CART (1997-2004), and NASCAR Busch series. In 2011 he won the Chihuahua Express, and was the presumptive favorite to win the Pan Am last October, However, he blew his engine the first day and had a couple of off-road excursions while trying to catch the leaders.

Ricardo Triviño, the controversial winner of the Pan Am last year by a whopping four seconds, is not expected to return to the event this year because he is participating in the World Rally Championship in Italy at the same time as the Pan Am.
American favorite Doug Mockett and his co-piloto Angélica Fuentes will return this year after a disappointing trip to the Targa Tazmania. Mockett and Fuentes even missed defending their vintage record at the Pikes Peak Hill International Climb, because it was postponed due to a forest fire near Colorado Springs in June. Instead, Mockett raced at Laguna Seca on August 12 and 19. This may be Mockett’s year.

Off hand, I know of no driver from the US or Canada who has raced professionally. A few, however, have raced at the higher levels of amateur racing, but most of us are only experienced in SCCA regional racing. In fact, some of our regulars have only raced in the Pan Am and Chihuahua Express.


This is the 11th year of the Coyote Convoy. The convoy will assemble in Laredo Thursday, October 11 and cross the border on October 12 for the 550 mile trip to San Miguel de Allende. On Sunday, twenty or more Pan Am cars will be displayed in the main square of town to raise funds for charity. The convoy will then finish the 400 mile drive to Veracruz on Monday, October 15. Participation in the convoy is open to anyone with an interest in the Pan Am.


Do you have family or friends who want to follow and watch the Pan Am this year? If so, there may be seats available on the Pan Am Tour hosted by Rosa Maria Mondragon, the former public relations director of the event. Rosa Maria or “Rous” has even participated in the “Pana” as a co-piloto, and has been offering this tour for several years.

Because of the format of this race and the speed it moves across the country, it is imperative that you have a driver or guide who knows how to get your friends close to the action.

Contact “Rous” at


As some of you may remember, a few years ago several boxes of 16 mm color film on the original Pan Am were found in a garage in Los Angeles. The film was taken by the crew of Ray Crawford, a WWII fighter pilot “ace,” who owned a chain of grocery stores in LA and raced all five years in the original Pan Am. In the race’s last year (1954), as a non-factory entry, he won the trophy for fastest American sedan in his “hot rod” Lincoln. I even showed some of the film in Tuxtla at the driver’s meeting.

About 15 hours of useable film was loaned by the Crawford family to the Kellogg Auto Archives in LA for restoration, and was eventually turned over to a movie maker to turn into a feature length documentary, “Carrera Panamericana de Mexico,” with long interviews with people like John Fitch, who drove for in the original race for Mercedes.

Now it is available on DVD for $22.00 from Interfund You can order it from there web site. You can also order the movie’s poster. Snippets can be seen on YouTube.

The producer of the film, Stephen Mitchell and his partner attended the Carreras Fiesta in Carmel in August and donated a copy of the DVD in a silent auction to Lupita Hernandez, the Mexican nurse who lost both legs at the hip in a Carrera accident in 2003.


The next Express is scheduled for the weekend of April 19-20 in Chihuahua City, Mexico. It will three days of challenging racing over 1000 miles of paved, excellent roads, with about 300 miles of speed stages.

The registration fee is $2400 USD, but there will a discount 0F $250 if paid by November. Entry fees are refundable until January.

Accommodations at the luxury Soberano Hotel in Chihuahua are $165 per night extra. Most racers stay from Wednesday through Sunday nights, a total of five night. Other, less expensive Mexican and U.S. chain hotels are close by.

The event is open to modern and classic cars. Turbo and supercharged cars are permitted. Pan Am cars will race in their respective classes. A class of Spec E30 BMWs is expected to participate.

Don’t want to put a six-point cage in your C Jag or Maybach? OK, you may also enroll in the Express Rally Tour for a much lower fee and see this beautiful country.

All things considered, this event is clearly more bang for your buck than any other event in the world. Driving these roads, across these impressive landscapes at any decent speed, is just plain fun.

If you are interested, please request the three-page brochure about the Express by hitting the reply button, and go to the official web site,

The Express is highly recommended for competitors who want to learn how to run a stage rally in Mexico before the LCP in October, since both events use the same rules. Also, the Express offers an excellent opportunity to test new cars at speed, on a twisty Mexican road. It also will take only a week or less of your time.

After all, we get to return to the same hotel each night and sleep in the same bed. No hunting for the hotel or driver’s meeting each night, or toting suitcases across town. What could be sweeter?

Chihuahua City is 250 miles south of El Paso and only 145 miles from Presidio, Texas. A convoy will drive down from El Paso on April 17.

What are you waiting for?


Michael Sharp brought this item to my attention. It’s about current wind tunnel testing of vintage 300SL Mercedes. Go to the end of the article and check other sites dealing with the Original Panamericana.


In 1954 a young photographer went to Mexico to “shoot” the Pan Am. That photographer’s name was Boyd Harnell. Harnell’s photos of Ak Miller’ car, “Caballo de Hierro” (Iron Horse), are famous.

Unlike many of the news photographers, who stationed themselves at the start and finish lines, Boyd would drive out along the route to take photos of the cars actually racing, especially around corners. He was one of the first photographers to use a motor driven camera. Thus he could take a whole series of shots of a car entering and exiting the apex. Today his famous series of photos of Phil Hill driving a factory Ferrari around a corner in the Mexican mountains 1954 hangs in the Pedersen auto museum in Los Angeles and other museums, signed by Phil Hill, too. It’s for sale at $7,800. It’s printed on the highest quality photographic paper that will last 400 years.

If you buy it, Harnell will donate $1000 to the Lupita Hernandez fund, the Mexican nurse who lost both legs in a Carrera accident in 2003.


1962 Alfa Giulietta. This car was made for Sophia Loren, who selected the color.

Spider Serial Number 171597 Original Engine rebuilt 2008. 350 miles since rebuild.

New brakes, shocks, top, seats, carpet, suspension links, battery. New Pirelli Tires.

New Webber carb, new alternator. Have all of the old parts for the purist.

Car is not perfect but close. Shows well. Richmond, CA $22,000 (a steal)

Call Frank at 415-720-1482

[NB: I have seen but not driven this car. It looks great, and how cool is it that Sophia Loren wiggled her sweet fanny into the bucket seats? It’s fully documented as her car and appears in one of her movies. Please do not make a LCP car out of it. I will cry. Gerie]

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. 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! (See photo below.) Contact info:

RMD Bvba, contact Marc Devis, Belgium, Tel: +32/ (0) 475 422790 Email:

Coca-Cola Pan Am Buick – this is a replica of the Mexican ‘54 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 class. Located in Monterey, California. $24,000 USD/BO. Contact Steve Dole at Go to for details about the car.

The car was recently used the model for a run of 100,000 die cast models, so you can have it in two sizes. A model comes with the original, too.


Yes, as you probably know, racing is dangerous and the Carrera can be addictive.


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)
1-650-867-9488 (mobile, only in US)
Number in Mexico +52-415-185-8470


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

Carrera Office, Mexico City 1-310-860-6959 (dial as a U.S. number)