Steering Motorsports Interest in the South
THE STARTER - Lord Seno (The Freeman) - August 19, 2019 - 12:00am

I was with Toyota Team Cebu in Clark International Speedway for the weekend, practicing for the Vios Racing Festival, which is just around the corner. The team, who I have been with for the past five years, still has retained most of its original members with the addition of some new ones from Iloilo.

In between sessions, we would talk about different topics, mostly about cars.  We discussed about the growing the interest of motor racing in the Visayas and augmenting dangerous driving in the streets.

Firstly, all of us acknowledged the fact that without a proper race venue, it will be hard to stir interest in this part of the Philippines. This is something that we’ve been working on for the past two years.

Second was the cost.  It’s expensive. My teammates always say that motor racing is quite an elitist sport.  I do agree, but not wholly.  Although it’s a grim reality that the opportunity to engage in motor racing is limited to those who are financially comfortable, the fact that there is a glimmer of hope for the less fortunate, only means it’s not impossible.  Michael Schumacher’s Dad was a car/go-kart mechanic who salvaged parts that the financially proficient racers threw away, just to make a go kart for his son.

Third is education. This one we all agreed.  When I was still organizing grassroots Autocross clinics in Kartzone, I’d always get this question.  “I’m an embarrassingly slow driver, and I don’t really know anything about driving fast. Will I be allowed to run?”  I’ve always believe that driving is not so much talent but more on skill.  They always say, “Hard work is greater than lazy talent.”

The Automobile Association of the Philippines has been doing grassroots Motorsports training all over the Philippines for years. It’s called the Motorsports Development Program.  This is actually a must-try, if you want to start.

When I was training with Toyota Racing School and Tuason Racing, I saw that the ones who had some real track or autocross experience, or years of karting, were the ones who felt easily comfortable. That’s because they went up the motorsports ladder, which is how almost all real racers start. Even the computer-based racing sim-racing enthusiasts proved that their field was useful in learning.

If you get educated well, I’m sure you’ll get it.  Once you do, that will be the time you will truly enjoy it.  While it rarely transforms you into a Michael Schumacher, the education itself is all worthwhile to make you a better driver on the streets.

The next question is, “It’s dangerous, right?” It surely is.  But nothing compared to having no education at all.  My Dad always said, “An idiot and his money will soon part”.  If you don’t get proper training, and you try it out alone in the Transcentral Highway in your performance car, that will all be too risky, not only for you, but for others as well.  My good friend Justin Neri said,  “it’s funny how these people who drive fast and expensive cars, boast of running their cars at 200km/h in the long starights of Medillin,  missing the essential safety gears like a helmet, a fireproof suit and  a  6-point seatbelt.  Those cars don’t even have roll cages! And yet, they are afraid to engage in motorsports in a proper racetrack with a properly built racecar, because it’s dangerous!”

Hopefully, if our plans of having a track in Cebu will materialize, I’d like to pass on some of what I have learned to any other ranks of hopeful and enthusiastic racing amateurs.

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