Carrera Panamericana 2013 — By Jennifer Shipp
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Carrera Panamericana 2013 — By Jennifer Shipp

PanAm Race in GTO
Carrera Panamericana cars line up on the streets of GTO in October of 2013.

This is one of the most famous and craziest road racing events in the world. For seven days every year, people drive their cars at break-neck speeds on public roads in Mexico.

The Carrera Panamericana is a road rally that passed through Guanajuato in late October when we were there in 2013. It was originally a road race began in 1950 to celebrate the completion of the Pan American Highway in Mexico. It was held for five years between 1950-1954 and became known as the most dangerous race of its type in the world.

After 1954, the Carrera Panamericana was cancelled.

In 1988, Pedro Davila and Eduardo de Leon Camargo brought the race back to life. Today, it’s a 7-day, 2,000 mile route that’s done on closed sections of the public road network in central Mexico. Drivers approach speeds of 160 mph during the race in cars with a classic body-shell. Engines however, are often more closely related to NASCAR vehicles.

The race usually starts in Veracruz and continues through Oaxaca stopping in different cities along the way. In 2013, cars lined up for many blocks in Guanajuato for an evening. The race ends in Nuevo Laredo.

Still considered an extremely dangerous activity, the drivers in the Carrera Panamerica have to label their helmets and the roof of their vehicle with their blood type.

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