• Dela Merced wants to set up own racing team

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    Gaby dela Merced  Contributed photo

    Gaby dela Merced
    Contributed photo

    The last time The Manila Times featured racing driver and media personality Gaby dela Merced, she told us about how she wanted to get back into motor sports after going on leave over a persisting injury.

    But in a recent interview with The Manila Times, dela Merced said although she has a few more medical procedures to undergo, she’s raring to get back on the track this year, focusing primarily on local races.

    “I’ve always been a circuit racer, so I’d like to do that,” she said. “I’m actually quite sad to see that many of our race series nowadays like the Philippine GT Championship have such small grids because back when I was still in touring cars, we used to have up to 20 cars on the track. I’d really like to do my part in getting the local motor sports scene back in full swing.”

    Dela Merced said she’s even thinking of setting up her own team to accomplish this goal. In addition, she said she’s been invited to compete in drift competitions, as well as having standing offers go back to endurance racing in the United States.

    Newfound love
    Recently, dela Merced did racing commentary in the second race of this year’s Vios Cup series at Filinvest in Alabang, Muntinlupa City alongside motoring journalist James Deakin.

    “To be honest, I didn’t know that I would actually be doing race commentary because all I was told was I would be hosting,” she said. “I was really nervous because I’d never done this before, but I had so much fun doing it. Even though I thought I was saying random things, it just felt so natural.”

    She said it helped that many of her old racing friends were part of the race’s staff, so she was able to better understand the series and the drivers by talking to them.

    “The most difficult thing about doing the commentary was that the screen showing the action around the track was too small, so James and I couldn’t really see the cars’ numbers,” she said. “But I really enjoyed doing it. I’d certainly do it again.”

    New TV show
    Apart from the Vios Cup, dela Merced said she just finished taping for History Asia’s upcoming reality show, “Celebrity Car Wars,” which is set to air in August this year. She said coaching aspiring racers is something that she’s always loved doing and hopes to do more often.

    “I’ve been asked to coach car enthusiasts before, having done one-on-one sessions with them,” she said. “Helping someone develop their talent is the best feeling in the world. There’s a sense of pride in passing on knowledge and when I see my students do well in their races, I feel proud because I played a part in their careers.”

    And who would question dela Merced’s credentials as a racer? Having both local and international experience in the track, there is little doubt she has what it takes to mentor aspiring racing drivers.

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