A fantastic, but not easy, ride to success

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E3--JP-320151013WHEN Jean Pierre “JP” Tuason started his racing school more than 16 years ago, his office at Mandaluyong City measured only 3 x 3 meters.

Today, Tuason holds office in a three-story building in Paranaque City that his company owns.

And while he is one of the top race car driving instructors in the Philippines through Tuason Racing School (TRS), he also has trained more than 35,000 road drivers in proper defensive driving and road safety.

Tuason is also into promoting motoring events and is one of the reasons why the Vios Cup, which is now on its second season, continues to grow in participation and popularity.

“Essentially our business is two things. [First] we do driver training programs. So we teach people how become safer drivers on the road and faster drivers on the track. So that’s our first sort of business model,” he said.


“And then the other side of our business is we’re an events company. So we organize events but we concentrate on automotive activities such as car launches and organizing of races, and it all ties in with what we do with the school, the racing school,” Tuason added.

The son of race car driving legend Arthur, he traces the development of his race car and defensive driving skills to his early participation in motor sports.

“I started getting involved in motor sports at the age of 13 with my dad. That was in 1987. In the late 1980s, the early 1990s, I did go karts with my dad, and we moved from go karts to cars,” Tuason said.

After his father passed away unexpectedly in September 1996, he was left to fend for his own.

“Unfortunately, my dad passed away in mid-1990s and to continue on racing, I had to come up with my own funds,” Tuason said.

“Putting together sponsorships for myself and through organizing sponsorships, I understood the business on how sponsors, drivers and events [organizers]work together,” Tuason added.

His exposure to the business of motor sports eventually led him to open his racing school even if he did not have enough funds. The first three training days of the school, however, kept Tuason and TRS very busy.

“When we opened the school, we didn’t have a lot of funding, we just really wanted to start the school out of a hobby. So we called lots of friends [for go-kart training],” he said.

The first batch of 150 students enrolled in January 1999 to take go-kart racing classes and hands-on training. They were divided into three batches of 50 each.

“It’s just kind of grew from there, so we expanded from go karts to cars, we started organizing races and eventually started moving over to the events side,” Tuason said.

Now on its 16th year of operation, TRS is also partner of BMW for the training of race car drivers.

“And then we do a lot of work with BMW, so we run the BMW Driving Experience in the Philippines,” he said.

Tuason trained in Germany and Austria in the latter part of 2012 to obtain his certification to run the BMW Driving Experience in the country.

“I spent two months in Europe because I did the training [with BMW]and I raced cars in Europe in Germany and Belgium,” he said.

Tuason is also hired by BMW to train race car drivers in parts of Asia.

“I get hired by BMW to travel around Asia to do the training. So I don’t just do training in the Philippines. So I also do training in Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam,” he added.

TRS also trains drivers from other countries, particularly those who will compete in open-wheel or Formula car races.

“We’re involved in Formula racing training so we have students from all over the world that come here [to the Philippines]and then we train them,” he said.

And with the growing popularity of motor bikes, TRS conducts the California Super Bikes School every year.

“So this is actually done in the Philippines, but we bring in the instructors from all around the world. We are the organizer of that [California Super Bikes School] training,” Tuason said.

DRIVER TRAINING
Although TRS was getting excellent bookings for its race car driving and big bike trainings, Tuason felt the need to contribute to improving road safety in the Philippines.

“We figured racing cars is good for the weekends, Friday, Saturday Sunday. So what do you do from Monday to Thursday? So we felt that road safety and defensive driving were something that could benefit everybody,” he said.

It was in 2003 that Tuason started conducting trainings on defensive driving and road safety for corporate clients.

“We go to corporate clients, offices like Standard Insurance, Ford, NLEX, Pepsi Cola, Du Pont and then a whole bunch of pharmaceutical companies. So we have probably about 40 corporate clients,” he said.

“And they fly us all across the country like Cebu, Davao to conduct these road safety courses. And then it got to the point where we’ve become fairly well known in the industry for road safety,” Tuason added.

He said they already have trained more than 35,000 drivers on defensive driving and road safety in the last 10 years.

Every year, Tuason trains 5,000 individuals of which 4,000 are for defensive driving and road safety. TRS trains about 1,000 people a year in race car driving.

TRS is also a recipient of a foreign grant to train bus and taxi drivers in the Philippines also on defensive driving and road safety. This has been going on for nine years.

“It’s in conjunction with Ford and the Driving Skills for Life Program. It’s spearheaded by Ford on a global basis. Locally, the Ford companies are giving the funding for the grants,” he said.

MOTOR SPORTS PROMOTION
Tuason is also very active in promoting the Vios Cup since its inception and sees the race series growing in the next few years.

“I’ve enjoyed motor sports very, very much. But I think it’s now my turn to give back to the industry [motor sports],” he said.

Tuason, however, said there is a need for the local motor sports scene and industry to grow.

“The problem we have in the Philippines is we’ve never been able to grow the local motor sports industry,” he said.

Tuason added the Vios Cup, now on its second season, can change the local motor sports scene.

“We never, ever had 50 brand-new cars race against each other, so that’s happening now. Next year, we are going to 75 cars,” he said.

With 75 cars participating next year in the Vios Cup, the race series can easily become the biggest one-make motor sports event in Southeast Asia.

“We’re creating a lot of noise, we are putting the Philippines on the map of Southeast Asian motor sports,” he said.

With his success in training race car drivers, teaching defensive driving and road safety, and promoting motor sports events like the Vios Cup, it is obvious Tuason has made one fantastic ride to success.

“One of the mottos for our company is we always endeavor to level up. The problem is when you think you’re the best, you just kind of get lazy,” he said.

“I can’t say it’s been an easy [ride to success], but it’s been a really fantastic one,” Tuason added.

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