Addicted to the most dangerous race in the world!
When I first met Angelica Fuentes Garcia she was competing in Vintage Sports Car Club speed trials at Brooklands Museum in the UK. She threw the little Lockhart special around the tight autotest courses as if it were a go-kart, grinning all the while. It looked like so much fun! Later we got chatting and I realised there was more to this lady than meets the eye. She lives and breathes motorsport, with a particular passion for vintage and classic cars.
Name a famous classic car race and chances are Angie's been there, done that! She has made her home in London but having been born and raised in Mexico, by a racing family, there is one race that must top the list, the Carrera Panamericana. The infamous race across Mexico began in 1950 to celebrate the completion of the Pan-American highway, a network of roads spanning the length of the American continent from Alaska to Argentina. It was widely regarded as the most dangerous race of any kind in the world, 27 people died in the 5 years the race ran. It had one of the highest per race mortality rates of any race in the history of motorsport.
The Carrera Panamericana was resurrected in 1988 as a 2000 mile, 7 day race. Teams compete on special closed stages and fast transit sections of the Mexican road system. Cars are divided into 10 categories depending on age and authenticity, unlike many classic races modifications are allowed. Modern disc brakes are common and classic body shells hiding modern V8 engines are not unheard of. What counts for more than any modification however is experience and that's what makes Angelica one of the most sought after co-drivers in the game!
Angelica first competed in the Carrera Panamericana in 1992, this year will be her 24th time in the race. She will once again navigate alongside driver, Gabriel Pérez. There's no doubt local knowledge is an advantage when it comes to road racing and the Mexican duo will certainly be hard to beat. Their last win together was in 2006, however Perez also won in 2012 and 2013; they are quietly confident of repeating victory next month.
Crashes are common as the high speed race takes in tough mountain roads. In an attempt to reduce the number of fatalities the top speed on closed road sections is now restricted to 144mph. Roll cages, race seats, fuel cells and fire suppression systems are required in most classes, while drivers and navigators must wear HANS devices and fire proof suits. Race suits must also be labelled with the wearers blood type and any allergies, as must the respective sides of their car.
Angie gets her hands on the road book. The race themed ring is her own design from her shop 'Scarlet Roundel' which you may have seen at the Goodwood Revival.
2019 sees Angie and Gabriel competing as the Museo del Automóvil Racing Team, driving a 1953 Studebaker supplied by the museum. She has kindly given me permission to share her photos with you, so you can follow the teams progress right here on the World Rallies tribe, the home of overland adventure travel, road trips and rallies by vintage or classic car.
Follow World Rallies for updates on Angelica and Gabriel's Carrera Panamericana race.