Rising Filipino racing star Gabe Tayao is proud of taking home trophies for the Philippines in the Formula 4 Southeast Asia’s opening leg held in Clark, Pampanga last October 15 and 16.
Tayao, a decorated go-kart racer in the domestic and international scene, shone in his open-wheel racing debut with a win and two podium finishes the other weekend. A total of six races where held during the race weekend at the Clark International Speedway.
“It’s just my first [car]race and I won a race and [made]two podium finishes. I think it was a pretty good weekend,” the 16-year-old driver told The Manila Times.
He added he did not expect to emerge as one of the winners going into the event but expressed he is happy to be one of the youngest Filipinos to make a mark in Formula 4.
The young racer from Makati City revealed that the racing weekend did not start quite well for him as he failed to finish Race 1 because of mechanical problems. But he stepped up to the challenge resulting in podium finishes in the two-day race weekend.
“In my first race, I had break failure so I did not finish but in Race 2, I finished at third from starting my position at seventh and in Race 3, I won,” he said.
Tayao beat rival drivers Presley Martono of Indonesia, Akash Gowda on India and Faine Kahia in the third race while fellow Philippine representative Angie King got a third-place finish in the same race.
In addition, Tayao finished third in Race 2 and Race 5 and fourth in Race 4. He also grabbed two top rookie awards for his performances in the six-race weekend.
He believes that his mastery of the home track in Clark proved to be handy, especially with heavy rains over weekend.
“Obviously, in the dry track, it did not help me much because everyone can drive a dry track after a few laps. In the rain, it kind of helped me a little bit because I’ve driven once in the rain in Clark,” he said.
Also, Tayao said that his karting experience helped him in his first outing in the Formula circuit.
“I was pressuring myself to do good because I want to do good. Having all those titles in karting —then suddenly this,” Tayao added.
The former karting champion declared that after proving himself in a much-bigger stage, he is now ready to go out and race once again in Formula 4.
“I can remember myself six years ago, fitting in a kart and deciding if I should race or not. Even I questioned myself if I should race or not. But now I hope I can race in another FIA-sanctioned race,” he added. FIA is the International Automobile Federation that sanctions open-wheel car racing.
However, Tayao said his appearance in the next leg of the F4 Southeast Asian championship in Indonesia on November would still depend on the support of his sponsors.
“I have yet to see if I’m going to race in the next one. It will all depend on my sponsors,” he said.