TOYOTA Motors Philippines made the best car event Cebu has ever seen. This was the Vios Cup race held at the SRP last May 17. This was the first time since 1969 that Cebu has hosted a circuit race.
There were 44 racers from all over the country that participated in this event. Unlike circuit racing 15 years ago, this event was dominated by young drivers in their late teens or barely out of their teens. The Toyota Vios is a very good platform for these young drivers to develop their racing skills at a reasonable and affordable cost. While dominated by young drivers, the grid was composed of people from different age groups as there were also drivers who were upwards of 50 years of age.
Another highlight of the event was the presence of Japanese driving legend Kiechi Tsuchiya a.k.a The Drift King. He demonstrated his driving skills on a Toyota GT-86 and on a Lexus RC-F. All the Cebuano petrol heads were more star struck with him than with the other Filipino celebrities, such as Jasmine Curtiss Smith, Kylie Padilla, Phoemela Baranda and Derek Ramsay, who also raced at the event.
I also would like to thank from the bottom of my heart J.P. Tuason, son of legendary Filipino rally driver, the late Arthur Tuason, for the blood, sweat and tears he put out just to make this race happen in Cebu.
There are two classes in the Vios Cup, the Sporting Class, which is the premier class and the Promotional class, which is composed of celebrities and hobby racers. The Sporting Class was dominated by the young Andres Calma, son of basketball legend Hector Calma and Cebuana Ines Ortiz-Calma.
Being half Bisaya, this was like a home win for him. Second place was Daniel Miranda, son of my good friend Martin Miranda and Angie Lhuillier-Miranda. These two young guns were the absolute best drivers in that race, as they really took their cars to the very edge of adhesion on a track that had different types of surfaces. Driving lap-after-lap, their cars less than an inch from the barriers without crashing, illustrates their confidence and skill in their driving. It was just beautiful to watch them do their thing.
Congratulations also to Dodo Cuenco of Toyota Cebu City for organizing a team in such a short span of time. I am sure Team Toyota Cebu City will be a force to contend with in the very near future.
Team Toyota Cebu City is composed of Jette Calderon, Sean Velasco, Harold Ong, Lord Seno and Oscar Suarez. Harold Ong and Sean Velasco are sharing a car, and for this leg it was Sean in the driver’s seat. Team Toyota Cebu City did extremely well for first time circuit racers, where Jette, Lord and Sean qualified for the Sporting Class, with Jette being the quickest, followed by Sean, then Lord and Oscar. To qualify in the Sporting class one must post a lap time in the top half of the 44 entries, and to do that in your first ever circuit race is a great achievement. Jette was in the top 10 in both races with a best finish of fifth in Race 2.
In the promotional class, Oscar Suarez finished second and was on the podium. One could not ask for more for his first circuit race.
The drivers of Team Toyota Cebu City have identified their weakness in comparison to the more seasoned drivers. This is braking – none of them have ever experienced braking from high speeds to slow corners. Part of the strategic and development plan is to go to Clark Speedway and train to learn more about high speed to low speed transition.
The next leg of the Vios Cup will be in Manila and I am confident of a much stronger and more competitive Team Toyota Cebu City.