By now, you’ve definitely seen Rayo Chapin around, either at events in SoCal or in photos online. Most know that the car won its class at the infamous La Carrera Panamericana race in Mexico, which it was built for.
But all this was not accomplished overnight. So, here’s the full backstory for your pleasure.
Work began in earnest in April. What started as a slightly tired Signal Red 912 was rolled into the shop and systematically disassembled. After making sure that any areas needing attention were dealt with, the car was sent for paint. The hood and the decklid were painted in Guatemalan flag colors (not Argentinian), on request from the owners/drivers who wanted to show their pride for their homeland.
After the paint stage, work got divided up and progressed at different rates over the next few months. The motor was torn down and rebuilt by Eric, while the transmission was put together by a noted specialist close to the shop. Meanwhile, suspension and inner structure work was in full swing, mostly divided between Steven and Ian. It wasn’t smooth sailing either….
The FIA-spec rollcage was welded in by Tim, to meet the LCP race regulations. Imagine our consternation when we found out that one of the drivers would not be able to fit due to his height and the crossbar going over his helmeted head. So he went back to the drawing, cutting and welding board….
As the countdown approached early October, the mood ramped up significantly. With mere days to spare and after a number of late nights and bruised knuckles, the car was given a thorough shakedown, tuned and loaded up on the trailer. John and Steven got on the road and made good time to tech inspection. Zero hour came - 3..2..1.. go!
And then they won. If only life was that simple.
We won’t go into too much detail, but the motor that the car won with was an amalgamation of two separate engines that the crew set off with from here. A full rebuild took place through one of the nights, and said motor was fully reassembled with 15 minutes to spare before the start of the race on the second day. Let that sink in for a second.
Sleepless days, sleepless nights, high-adrenaline action, high points, low points, a lot of oil, gas and wrenching later, Team Rayo Chapin took first in class.
We take our social commitments seriously too, so John and Steven sped through the border, Texas and eventually home in 30 hours straight, to attend the Zuffenhausen show at Santa Anita Park with the race car. The sheer confusion that people had when they saw the car on the lawn, a car they knew to be in Mexico not 48 hours prior was sight for sore eyes.
While this isn’t the first time we’ve run the La Carrera Panamericana, it is the first time we’ve run with the Guatemalan team, and more importantly, it’s the first time that we’ve run it with a 912.
Since then, the shop has returned to normal, but everytime we look at the battered race car sitting in your yard, there’s a sense of quiet pride that we feel.
Till next year then!
Benton-built Type 616 race motor
Short skirt alloyed pistons
901 with rally gearing fed through limited-slip diff
Sparco Evo Seats
Autometer gauges with satellite driven speedometer
Full fire-suppression system
MOMO flat-bottomed steering wheel
FIA-spec welded-in roll cage
Auxiliary LED lighting