• Mazda joins search for future racing drivers

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    Berjaya Auto Philippines (BAP), the distributor of Mazda vehicles in the country, has joined hands with the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) in its pursuit to discover Filipino racing drivers of tomorrow.

    During the culminating exercises of the 2015 AAP-FIA Motorsport Development Program held at the Metro Tent complex in Libis, Quezon City on November 22, Mazda Philippines turned over three Mazda2 vehicles as teaching tools to aid in the program’s practical driving exercises.

    “Mazda Philippines has always believed that better and safer driving habits start from better driving education,” said Steven Tan, president and chief executive officer of BAP and Mazda Philippines. “We applaud the AAP for instituting and supporting this program that gives young motor sports fans an opportunity to learn from the icons of Philippine motor sports themselves. By supporting this program, we look forward to developing future role models to whom our motorists can look up to.”

    The Mazda2 has been competing in the Philippine Touring Car Championships for the last four years. Mazda Philippines race driver Edwin Rodriguez has already won two GT100 championships in 2013 and 2014, and a second runner-up title this 2015.

    “The Mazda2 is the ideal teaching tool to learn and hone one’s racing skills,” said Rodriguez. “Mazda’s Jinba Ittai ‘horse and rider as one’ DNA is strongly infused in the Mazda2. Because of this, the Mazda2 creates a close bond between driver and car. This bond translates to a more direct feedback to the driver’s input in terms of acceleration, braking and cornering making it the perfect vehicle to develop your racing skills.”

    Funded by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, the AAP Motorsport Development Program is anchored on creating a link to safer everyday driving. The initiative was developed to discover, train and elevate the driving and racing skills of qualified 16- to 19-year olds in the hope of discovering future motor sports stars. The program is led by multiple Rally champion and Driver of the Year, Vip Isada.

    For 2015, five individuals were chosen from a field of more than one hundred aspiring young drivers who participated in the various legs of the program held in Metro Manila as well as in the cities of Bacolod, Cebu and Davao. The Top Five drivers are (from left to right): Jero Consing from Bacolod; and Bernard Michael Santos, Cheeney Jimenez, Raymond Cudala, Polo Bautista and Paolo Santos from Manila. They will undergo further training and be exposed to upcoming motor sports events in the coming months to sharpen their craft.

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