After two years of being absent and missing the actual races due to health issues, I found myself attending the second leg of the Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) Vios Cup. And boy, was I in for a big treat!
The second leg proved to be one of the most exciting races I have seen, both live and online. The drivers seem to have been encouraged by the energy provided by fans who, like them, have returned to the race track to experience the thrill of wheel-to-wheel racing.
Fans were finally allowed to cheer for their favorite drivers and teams again with all the safety protocols followed like anti-gen testing prior to entry. Media, celebrities, and influencers were also present to compete in the TGR Autocross Challenge that completed the festivities.
We saw how model Daniel Matsunaga battled it out with fellow Promotional racers and finished third in Race 2, while Troy Montero proved his worth competing in the highly-competitive Sporting Class. Fellow model/actor Fabio Ide had a disappointing race weekend as he figured in an accident and did not finish the race he was predicted to win.
First-time Vios Cup Racer Jason Lao of the Happy Hotels/OTR racing team and Bryan Co of R Racing Team/Toyota Dagupan wrote the comeback stories of the leg. After being disqualified in the Race 1 when his bumper fell off, Lao came from behind to win both Races 2 and 3 of the Promotional class. Lady driver Julia De Los Angeles of TSJ/ Obengers Racing Team landed on the podium in Race 2 but fell victim to the reverse grid rule in Race 3.
We saw battles in front, middle and even in the back. The audience was at the edge of their seats all the way to the finish line.
In a post-event banter with the Toyota bosses, we were all amazed that the Vios Cup One Make Race just concluded its 9th season and realized the kind of impact it has given Philippine motorsports. Livestream was made available online and there was live commentating by James Deakin and Gaby dela Merced for fans, and every year the races get better with the technology of the LED screens with commentators in different areas of the venue.
From the organizing side, the racers and officials are getting more sophisticated in improving the rules year after a year, making the TGR Vios Cup attain the high standards of racing.
Despite the Covid hiccup, Toyota’s vision of making motorsports more accessible and developing Filipino talent to compete in international competition is truly taking shape.