We introduced our new generation of Filipino racers in our two previous columns, and they are our best chance of seeing our flag on the podium in international competitions.
These magnificent racers are 15-year-old racing phenom Iñigo Anton, 22-year-old international touring car winner Daniel Miranda, 11-year-old karting sensation William Go, 22-year-old slalom/FV1 winner Estefano Rivera and 15-year-old karting/FV1 amateur winner Alex Brown.
The five are all candidates for future legendary status in Philippine motor sports, and I am happy that I am still able to see and hear them race. And here are the additional and final members that made it on my list of “Amazing New Filipino Racers.” Definitely, there are a lot more out there that I have not heard of, and I hope they will also make us proud too in the future.
One female karter who is creating a lot of waves in the international scene today is 14-year-old Bianca Bustamante. With supportive parents Ray and Jhen, she started karting at the very young age of three. By the time she has reached the age of six, she started racing with the boys and even raced abroad when she was barely in her teens!
Bianca was able to race in the US Supernationals, a very tough and competitive series where a lot of different karters from different countries battle it out before they move up to the higher forms of racing. In 2015, she was able to qualify at fourth in a field of 91 karters, which was not an easy task.
Bianca is currently running in the X30 IAME Series Asia Junior Class, where she is currently in third place after a problematic start here in the Philippines. But she is now the virtual winner in the IAME X30 Philippines series after taking enough points in the early rounds.
She is also running in the Asian Karting Open Championship and is in a better position there at second place overall. As well, she is leading the championships of ROK GP Cup Philippines.
With such a huge experience in karting, Bianca will be moving up to cars and, maybe, Formula open-wheel cars soon. We know she has to learn a lot of things, as she can’t drive on the streets and is not too familiar with a manual transmission car yet. But she has the heart and passion for racing, and it would be great to see her rise further in the future.
Our next racer may not be as young as the others in my list, but he certainly has the heart of a true champion! He is the half Japanese and Filipino drift driver Toni Arakaki. His nickname is “Halfbreed,” and he resides in Okinawa, Japan.
He flies the Philippine flag in the drift races and has competition licenses in a lot of championship series, especially the D1 Grand Prix, which is the highest level in drifting and is equivalent to Formula One in the open-wheel racing. Arakaki is also the first Filipino to be given a professional license at the Drift Muscle Series in Japan in 2012.
Toni comes over to our shores through the King of Nations series that travels around the region and showcases the best drifters to our motor sports-hungry nation. In 2017, he won one round and came in second in another. These were his best years ever in drifting.
He flew our flag in the Intercontinental Drifting Cup last year with our own Luis Gono of the Autoplus team. Toni will be competing again in the upcoming King of Nations drifting here in Clark International Speedway in October.
Like most of our foreign-based racers, Toni is quite sad that he is not well known here in our country even though he wears the Philippine flag on his uniform and carries it in various events. He doesn’t receive much help locally, and is just proud to be a Filipino and doing battle for our country.
I hope we could help Toni be known more here and be given the recognition due to him. And we hope to bring more of his racing exploits to the media and write about him more often.
We still have a few more Filipino drivers out there who could be revealed in the future and hopefully, we will not miss out on the best of them. Godspeed to all!