Last November 11 and 12, Toyota Motor Philippines wrapped up the fourth and final leg of the 2016 Vios Cup season at Clark International Speedway in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Going into the final two races of the year, Andres Calma, son of Philippine Basketball Association legend Hector Calma, had led the Super Sporting Class with 125 points—nearly double the points of second-placed Allan Uy. For the Sporting Class, Miko Maristela had topped the list with a scant three-point lead over Sean Velasco, while Marc Martinez had been sitting atop the Promotional Class ahead of Aira Medrano. Completing the entrants for the leg was the Celebrity Class with Jinno Rufino ahead of Fabio Ide.
Although the cloudy skies threatened to dampen the excitement heading into the final leg, the double points to be awarded at the end of the races certainly guaranteed some heated battles around the 4.2km racetrack.
While most of the participants in the four classes tried to keep the racing clean and devoid of crashes, quite a few cars in the Sporting Class got too close for comfort on the asphalt, with radio DJ Sam YG’s No. 6 car taking most of the beating. While Sam was leading the first race, a competitor cut inside a corner the celebrity was taking, causing him to briefly lose control which resulted in him dropping down to second place. Although Sam was able to take back the lead later, his car was subjected to a bump-and-run—a racing technique where the car at the back intentionally bumps the car in front, causing the latter to lose control and giving the former the opportunity to overtake. The maneuver caused Sam to drop two places and finish the race in third place. As a concession, following the racing incident which cost Sam YG the lead, he was promoted to second place.
With the double points finish, TMP and race organizer Tuason Racing could only hand out provisional results at the end of the day, with the first race being topped by Fabio Ide (Celebrity Class), Arbie Jacinto (Promotional Class), Gerald Loy (Sporting Class). and Allan Uy (Super Sporting Class). The second race, meanwhile, was won by Ide, Kiko Dysico (Promotional Class), Steve Bicknell (Sporting Class) and Estefano Rivera (Super Sporting Class).
Changes planned for 2017 season?
After three successful seasons, Toyota Motor Philippines is reportedly planning to make some changes to its already exciting Vios Cup one-make racing series for the 2017 season.
First and foremost, according to our source, would be to bring the new NR-series dual VVT-i engine into the mix. This motor was introduced on the updated Toyota Vios in July this year. One supposed reason for the move is that TMP has apparently stopped selling the Vios Cup race car with the previous NZ-FE mill to the teams as confirmed to us by an officer of one of the teams. This doesn’t necessarily mean that TMP will no longer support the teams that don’t want to use the updated Vios. Instead, TMP would run two separate classes for the Vios Cup—with one class catering to the race cars with the new engine, and the other class featuring race cars with the old mill.
We also asked our source about the long-rumored plan to make a Toyota 86 racing series. While our source confirmed that this had always been talked about, the cost of running it would be prohibitive and that the only way to make it work would be if a certain number of teams and drivers signed up for the series.
Another way proposed to make an 86 racing series would be to run it across the ASEAN region and promote motorsport tourism by attracting foreigners to fly to different countries in support of their national teams.
But perhaps the most significant development for the 2017 Vios Cup season would be the entry of Gazoo Racing as a title sponsor. For the uninitiated, Gazoo Racing is an independent racing outfit under Toyota’s banner, which aims to promote grassroots motorsport activities in the interest of attracting new generations of car enthusiasts. In April 2015, Toyota opted to run all its motorsports activities—namely, Toyota Racing, Lexus Racing and Gazoo Racing—under the Gazoo Racing banner.
According to our source, officials from Gazoo Racing were at the recently concluded final leg of the 2016 Vios Cup to study how the local race series was run, and to get a feel for our local racing atmosphere.
If all these changes push through, the 2017 Vios Cup season may very well provide a much-needed shot in the arm for the ailing Philippine motorsport scene.