"Felipe Arguelles is my navigator in all Mexico rallies and occasionally at the Silver State Classic Challenge. He is an architect in Mexico, originally from Mexico City, and now resides in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. He has been my navigator racing with me for 12 years" says Waldman.
The Basic game plan going into the La Carrera Panamerica is to survive and complete all seven days, and to not miss any speed stages, or transit stages along the way.
"You have to be gentle on the equipment and at the same time fast. Besides the driver and navigator, the support team consists of a team manager and two mechanics in the first support vehicle. That vehicle runs in front of us and meets us at service stops. The second support team follows behind us, in case we break down, they would pick us up and take us to the first support vehicle for service. We have a total of 8 people in the support teams," continues Waldman.
La Carrera Panamericana is not an off-road race, all the roads are paved. The event originally got its start in the early 50´s, by the President Aleman of Mexico, promoting the new road that was built between Guatamala and the United States border – called the Panamerican Highway. The original event ran until 1954 and then in 1988 it was resurrected. It is viewed by over 2 million people along the roads, and in the major cities, and is televised nationwide. Many foreign countries also cover it. Participants ship their cars from as far away as the United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, France, Canada and the United States. Total race mileage is 2,054. It begins in Southern Mexico about 100 miles north of the Guatamalen Border (Tuxla Gutierrez) and continues north until the drivers reach Nuevo Laredo.
The car that Waldman and Arguelles race is a 1954 Crown Victoria, and it's entered in the Tourismo Mayor class. Top speed of the car is approximately 159mph.
"It is extremely modified with a Camaro front clip and an engine that produces approximately 540 hp and 225 lbs of torque. It has a 9" Ford rear end and truck arms. It also has double coils, double MSD ignition systems, double gas pumps and double fans," adds Waldman.
This is not Waldman's first time at this event. "I have been doing this particular event since 1997 but have been racing in Mexico since 1985. I have also participated in the Media Noche, Acapulco Rally, La Carrera Ensenada and currently participate in the Chihuahua Express, which is a 3-day rally around Chihuahua. I drive a 2006 Mitsubishi Evo IX MR for that event."
On the Crown Victoria I use a K&N Xtreme Air Flow Filtercharger Custom Assembly (Part #66-3010), Oil filters (Part #HP-3001), Crank case vent filter (Part #62-1514) and Air Filter Wrap (Part #22-1430PK).
The car isn't the only thing that has to be in top shape to compete in this event. "The better physical shape you are in the better you will be able to cope with the event. It is a grueling race due to the length and also because of the different altitudes and temperatures. We go from sea level to as high as 10,000 feet. You have hot, humid, conditions, to icy cold conditions," reflects Waldman. And, it is precisely this combination of challenges that will attract Waldman back for many years to come.
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