WHAT is now The Manila Times’ weekly motoring section was not, until 2010, the paper’s “official” motoring section.
Fast Times started life as a monthly supplement publication for The Times’ weekly motoring section, originally coming out on the third Friday of every month to add more motor sports news to the regular Tuesday motoring pages.
Fast Times was created by esteemed automotive journalist Vernon Sarne (present editor of Top Gear Phils.), who had also coined the section’s name, and who built The Times’ motoring section into a credible, occasionally controversial, decidedly irreverent and always informative read. Sarne, intending to set Fast Times apart from a grid of monthly motoring section supplements, laid a definitive motor sport angle to the section, including some slant on the after-market world. The section first turned a wheel in 2004.
When Sarne moved on to helm the country’s top automotive magazine a year later, but staying on board in a less involved capacity as editorial consultant and columnist to Times’ Motoring and Fast Times, the editorship position for both sections fell on Times’ then art director and automotive writer, Brian Afuang. For the next five years, Fast Times steadily run the race course and expanded its coverage to include motorcycles, car-centric lifestyle features and new technology—subjects more focused on car guys’ interests compared to those appearing in the paper’s weekly motoring section, but still staying true to its origins.
At the same time, Times’ President Dante “Klink” Ang 2nd had also been toying with innovative ideas, chief of which was the expansion of Motoring to at least four pages every week, with the section to be printed in full-color, and on high-quality, sheet-fed, white paper. The section will also get new auto-enthusiast content.
Then it was decided that the glitzier, more substantial product deserved its own branding, seeing it as a section no other nationally circulated broadsheet offers.
Fast Times, The Times’ weekly motoring section (not just a supplement section) was born. It offered—and still does—the best of what its previous monthly supplement version did and fused these with auto industry coverage, witty test-drive reviews, international news and other relevant contents of the paper’s previous weekly motoring section.
Not surprising, the new Fast Times promptly went on to clinch the Best Motor Show Coverage (Print Category) in the 1st Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) Motor Show Media Awards, when the country’s premier organization of carmakers held its 3rd CAMPI Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS) in August 2010.
In 2011, its first full year as a revamped product, Fast Times was honored as Best Broadsheet Motoring Section at Ford Motor Co.’s 11th Henry Ford Awards, the country’s sole award-giving body that recognizes excellence in automotive journalism. The awards’ body in 2011 moved to base its judging of the country’s weekly motoring sections on issues published the entire year rather than on only four pieces that a publication may tailor-fit to submit as its entry.
In 2012 Fast Times repeated on its Henry Ford Award, which followed the section’s best-coverage plum it received from the 2nd PIMS.
As The Manila Times celebrates its 116th anniversary, we also mark Fast Times’ journey from 2004. We will continue to cover all the significant news about carmakers in the Philippines, and report on green technology, motor sports, car-safety features, vehicle sales in parts of Asia, and more—all excellently packaged in reader-friendly format. We will also see to it that this dedication to excellence be consistent week after week, issue after issue.