Former Formula One driver Felipe Massa is arriving in Manila for the FIA Sport Conference 2018 to be hosted by the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) with the support of the Department of Tourism (DOT) on June 4 to 6. Massa, who retired from F1 last year after racing in 269 Grands Prix, scoring 11 wins, 41 podiums, 16 pole positions, and 15 fastest laps, will participate in the E-karting demo on June 6.
The FIA will bring in six electric karts for the demo, where Massa will benchmark an official time to beat by local karters and selected guest drivers. Aside from the E-karting demo, other motor sport activities such as drifting, gymkhana, cross car, and the online Gran Turismo Asian Championship Finals will be held at the SM Mall of Asia grounds in Pasay City.
The 2018 FIA Sport Conference will be the sixth in an annual series and the first to be held in Asia by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, the Paris-based governing body of all four-wheel motor sport worldwide including F1, the World Rally Championship and 24 Hours at Le Mans. The AAP, backed by the DOT, won the international bidding in 2017 to host the FIA Sport Conference in June 2018.
Around 500 delegates from 245 FIA member clubs in 143 countries are expected to attend the Conference, the theme of which is “Empowering the Future, Unlocking Motor Sport’s Potential.” In his Save the Date message to FIA member organizations, FIA president Jean Todt said that the 2018 Sport Conference will cover key topics such as creating a motor sport culture in new markets, how to attract an increasingly busy young audience in a fast-changing world, and how to involve the next generation in the future of motor sport, both as fans and participants.
Other topics to be debated are the challenges of driverless cars and alternatives to the traditional car, E-gaming as a new way to embrace the sport, societal evolution, and the growing social values to be implemented in motor sports. Aside from the DOT, the major sponsors of the Conference so far are Petron Corp., San Miguel Group, SMC Asia Car Distributors Corp. (BMW Philippines), Hyundai Asia Resources Inc., and Philippine Airlines.