In the Pit Lane: We take a look inside motorsport in Mexico City.
By Omar C.
It’s a Saturday morning, and I’m running late to catch a subway train. Unlike half the people aboard the subway, I’m not going to the office. I’m headed to the legendary Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguez, named after the famous Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez, ace drivers and racing icons of motorsport in Mexico.
I get my ticket and a sticky bracelet is given to me, wrapping around my wrist with its green single stripe, allowing me to access the pit area.
The pit lane is full of various cars from different classes, some are 1.6 liter single overhead cam, others are DOHC and 2 liter 4 bangers, there are even a few Porsches, a Subaru Impreza , and a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX. Just as diverse, the crowd inhabiting each slot swarms around their racing machine, with mechanics wrenching frantically, drivers suiting up and getting ready to rock and roll.
The starting grid is being formed as I cross the pit lane. I take aim with my camera at the front runners. After a driver gives me a “thumbs up” for photographing his car, the picture is taken, an instant later, the green flag is waved and the roar of the straight piped pack of engines shakes the ground. The noise is intoxicating; a choir of high revving 4 cylinders creates a marvelous symphony as the pack heads into the first corner.
Back in the pit lane, the action never stops, with vehicles going into technical inspection before they can enter the next event. Since various categories share the track today, a team of officials is tasked to assess the safety, performance, and rule compliance of every vehicle. Motorsport in Mexico has strict rules to make for fair competition.
The official rulebook states different power-to-weight ratios for each class, weight limits are also enforced. The race prepped machines are weighed and tested on a dyno to ensure participants adhere to the rulebook.
No forced induction is allowed, except for the top classes, so the engines focus on having a high redline, straight piped exhaust, tubular headers, balanced and lightened internals. Suspension and brakes have fewer restrictions. Tires are specified for each class, with only the TC2000 and above class being allowed to run slicks.
After the qualifying sessions, a sprint race for each two classes is held, and the drivers don’t shy away from giving their all. In a blaze of automotive fury, everyone works frantically I improve the results and new acquisitions, as well as animation of characters. Everyone is busy, including the audience, trying to keep up with the action happening in front of them.
Motorsport in Mexico is truly a beautiful thing, with last year’s Formula 1 event, I hope the people’s interest in car racing is rekindled by experiences like the one I had yesterday.