Doing the Non-Tourist things in life is the way the Tiffany and I have always operated. Why do the usual things that are recommend when you could go and explore the roads less traveled and the locals hot spots. We have found so many neat things that are off the beaten path that were far better than the usual to do’s. So why would we be any different in Panama? We aren’t so that is why we made an effort to go explore the Circuito Internacional Raceway in Chorrera, Panama.
This nicely appointed drag strip is just a short drive from the Panamerican highway, around 15-20 minutes, totally worth the short drive. We had noticed a post on Instagram mentioning the upcoming race along with photos of the past races that had included buses as well as many other very interesting and impressive vehicles. Figuring out where the track was located and when the event started and ended was a bit more challenging. We have found that this is pretty much the case with most events in Panama, often you will hear about the event after you see photos posted from the event that has ended.
We continued following occasional small signs that indicated we were headed the right direction through the small town of La Chorrera until we finally arrived at the Circuito Internacional Raceway. Upon arriving you will be driving down a bit of a rough dirt road, which we were questioning how some of the cars racing managed to get down this road. As you near the raceway you come over a hill and begin going down, which gives you a great view of the track. We noted once we arrived that they were still actually grading the parking lot, entrance and pit area of the raceway, kind of typical for Panama as we have learned. On this note they were also still welding the handrail and stairs for the spectator stand as well, quite funny honestly, other than avoiding getting hit with sparks from the welders.
The track is of very high quality and quite impressive for Panama as well, great looking smooth asphalt strip with a nice drag tree as well (the thing that tells them when they are lined up and when to start racing). Racing had already begun when we arrived and quite a few people were in attendance as well. The vehicles in the pits were of many makes and models, including but not limited to Porche SUVs, Nissan GTRs, a Jeep SRT8 Cherokee, a Ford Lightning, Dodge Cummins Mega Cab, Several Hondas, Toyotas, Hyundais, Mitsubishis, old muscle cars and many others. Many of these vehicles were running under 12 second quartermiles which is very competitive.
They had $2 beers and $1 Secos which are cane rum drinks with fruit that are very tasty. In addition multiple food trucks and vendors were present as well, although Tiffany being vegetarian, the options were a bit limited. We had some French fries and cheese sticks from a food truck named What Da Fork, which was quite tasty.
The races were very competitive, we saw a couple vehicles not quite stay together through the run and one unfortunate crash that took a section of the course out and pretty much ruined the car, which we were able to catch a video of which you will find in this post and on our TropicLivin youtube channel as well.
Our favorite race by far was the Ford Lightning Vs. the Dodge Cummins Crew Cab 4×4, it was a very close race the dodge ran just over 14 and the Ford likely in the 13s unfortunately the speed wasn’t posted for the Ford. We have been Ford fans and owners for many years so we found great pleasure in this Ford Victory, haha.
In the afternoon at the Circuito Internacional Raceway they began setting up for the evening party after the races, which you will learn in Panama that the after party is often larger than the actual event. We noticed a large diesel F450 Ford truck with what looked like a black storage box van item on the rear of it, then they tilted it back hydraulically and it opened up in to the largest speaker system I have possibly ever witnessed (see pics and video). Tiffany and I went over to check it out and the guys working it decided to give us a sample experience and started playing som California Rap. Tiffany embraced the moment, went and stood center of the speakers and began dancing to it, great times. This stereo system shook your entire body and you could feel it in your bones basically, it was very impressive. I can imagine you would go deaf pretty quick listening to this system, lol.
We spent several hours at the drag races and had an incredible time, met several English speaking Gringos that live in Panama and exchanged some numbers to later hang out with them. I highly recommend checking this out if you have the chance, it was a blast. The track is also in the works of building a full road course for cars and a go cart track as well, I have attached a photo of the future plans.
Thanks for visiting, have a great day.