Martin and Walker
Phone UK: 01264 773202
The following text details our successful participation in three Carrera Panamericana races, you can also view pictures and results here
In 1999 we were approached by a Daniel Heald (an expatriate Englishman living in Vancouver, Canada) about building a 904 replica to compete on the Carrera Panamericana race in Mexico, as one can imagine we were somewhat sceptical. For those not familiar with it the Carrera Panamericana is a modern day version of the road race run in the early 1950’s which consisted of a flat out race along the length of Mexico from South to North, some 3000km
Today’s version is still run over a 3000km course from Tuxtla Gutierrez in the far south to nuevo Laredo on the Texas border, but with a series of closed road special stages on each of the seven days of the event. It is open to pre 1965 cars and usually has an entry of around 80.
After a period of discussion on specification and modifications that would be required to comply with the safety requirements, and some lengthy discussions with the Canadian authorities to make sure it would be possible to import it into Canada an order was placed for a complete car less engine and transmission. It was to be supplied in a number of subassemblies in order for it to be considered as a “kit” for assembly as a home built vehicle. Modifications from our normal specification were essentially safety orientated with a full FIA spec. roll cage, safety fuel cell, anchorages for five point race harnesses, and additional wiring for dual ignition, fuel pumps and cut-out switches.
The rules for the Carrera Panamericana required that the engine capacity should not be greater than the original car, ie 2 litres, so after much discussion Daniel asked the world renowned Porsche engine specialists Andial of Los Angeles to build basically a 906 specification engine for the car with a matching 914 transmission. Before agreeing to build the engine Dieter Inzenhofer one of the owners of Andial visited us to make sure he was happy to be associated with the venture - he was.
The car was shipped to Vancouver and assembled by Daniel before being trailered to
Andial to have the engine and transmission fitted. It was then taken to Willow Springs racetrack for setting up and subsequently returned to Vancouver for final preparation for the race. The engine was dyno tested at 208 bhp.
For the 2000 race the car was to be driven by Daniel , Paul Latham-Jackson an old friend of Daniel from England and at that time an engineer at the TWR Formula One team, and Rod Sinn originally from Chile and a friend and neighbour of Daniel in Vancouver. Daniel asked me (Barrie Martin) if I would fly out to help look after the car during the race, needless to say I didn’t need too much persuasion. There were a couple of small problems during the event the most significant being a broken wishbone tube caused by the wrong type of fastener being fitted during the assembly in Canada, and a problem with the clutch release mechanism fixed in an all night session in a hotel car park. The car otherwise ran well and reached the finish albeit unclassified due to the amount of time lost, the seeds had been sown for a return the following year.
Due to business commitments Daniel was unable to enter the 2001 race and we start again in 2002. In the intervening time Daniel had taken the car to a Volkswagen-Audi repair shop in Vancouver to discover that the owner Alfred Jakob had worked for Porsche on 904’s and 906’s. Alfred and his son Rogee checked over and prepared the car and fitted the larger fuel tank which I had made in the UK and shipped over to Vancouver.
Fairly late in the day Paul and Rod had to pull out of the event and Daniel asked Rogee and myself to share the car with him, with Daniel’s brother Matthew coming along in support. Once again the car was trailered down from Vancouver and I was to be picked up in San Antonio. A borrowed Jeep Cherokee was the tow vehicle and on the journey down lost two wheels in separate incidents the second resulting in a jack knife at 60mph on the freeway, I’m glad to say before getting to San Antonio. The Jeep also had somewhat suspect brakes so the long trek to the south of Mexico was
Shall we say “interesting” on several occasions. However we arrived safely and the brakes were sorted out by a local shop in Tuxtla.
To be continued ……..