Tuesday, November 27, 2012

La Carrera Panamericana 2012 ... Scorching Mexico

One of our intrepid blog followers, Carson Scheller and his daughter Lauren recently returned from competing in the La Carrera Panamericana and wanted to share some photos and thoughts from Lauren's blog along the way.

It was the 25th running of the modern "La Carrera Panamericana" thru main-land Mexico, seven days, 3000kms, unlimited speed sections on public roads. In Carson's words, "Hee Haa!"  Lauren was the co-piloto and navigator on the adventure. In what you ask? How about the ol' girl as Carson calls her, a 1954 4000lb. Ford Victoria running a "Y" block V8. They ran in the original Pan Am class which included cars from 1940-1954 that could have run in the early days of the race. There are, of course, other classes for cars such as Mustangs, Cadillacs, Vettes and later Porsche 356 models and even 911s, but nothing newer than 1970.

Carson and Lauren book-it around the corner in the 'ol girl.

It's a seven day race with stops in seven cities starting in Veracruz and ending in Zacatecas. As Lauren put it, "When you arrive in each of these cities, you're treated like rock stars passing out custom made cards that are supplied for each car and signing autographs. The towns people go crazy over this event."

However, not all was fun and games. They usually lose one or two cars to accidents each day, but on day three, there were six very bad accidents, five of them in one corner with cars going off and over the side and down a hill, Porsche 911s, a Studebaker, an Alfa and Mercedes-Benz. The good news, there were only minor injuries. One of Lauren's friends, Pepe, was one of the press for the race and took some incredible photos of the incident. This leads me to the safety requirements for the event. Tech of the drivers equipment prior to the event included, suits, shoes, helmets, Hans devices, gloves. The cars were checked for turn signals, headlights, a roll cage, belts, seats, fire suppression systems, fuel cells, tires and wheels. One needs to remember, this is a race.

Their main competitor in the "Original Class " was a retired F1 driver and 3 times Le Mans winner ( Porsche 917s ) Dutchman Gijs van Lennep, driving a beautiful pre '55 356 Porsche that you will see in the photos with Lauren. He was quick in the twisties but Carson and Lauren managed to pull ahead overall at the finish.
How would like to run a 300SL though Mexico?

How about an old Dodge to race with?

Gijs van Lennep and Lauren on the pre-'55. Image via Lauren Scheller

Carson enjoying the moment. Image via Lauren Scheller

There's always time for a smile, a stogie and a photo-opp. Image via Lauren Scheller

Three ol' Fords ready for the race. Image via Lauren Scheller

Jose' watching the action hanging from the windshield. Image via Lauren Scheller

Pepe' got this photo of two 911s, an Alfa, a Studebaker and Mercedes-Benz

It may live to race another day after pulled from the ravine. Image via Lauren Scheller

Here comes the Paparazzi. Image via Lauren Scheller

Feelin' like a "Rock Star." Image via Lauren Scheller

Party time! Image via Lauren Scheller

Lauren and Carson coming home as winners. Image via Lauren Scheller

It's an interesting blog to read with day to day reporting from Lauren. One tip, read it in reverse to get the true flavor. Here is the blog site: http://www.lscheller.blogspot.com/ and you can check out all the photos by clicking here.

To share a comment, this is the place to click. And don't for get to pass "Along For The Ride" on to a friend.


  1. Great coverage John, some photos I have not seen before .
    just a few comments : all classes of cars are limited to 1940-1954 except the Historic Classes 1955-1965 and Historic A+ which is 1965-1972.
    Find all info at www.lacarrerapanamericana.com.mx
    note :the orange studebaker #10 that went over the side and was pulled out and finished 21st overall . Lastly and most sadly there were two fatalities this year , one in a high speed crash and the other a heart attack. This race/ rally , as in the original days 1950-1954 , is truly a test of man/women and machine . giddyup , Carson car #433

    1. Thanks Carson for the update of info for the blog...

  2. That was a cool race! I love vintage cars. I have only came across your blog and this is what caught my attention. I have only known this kind of race from you. Anyway, do they accept joiners from anywhere in the world?