Motorsports has always suffered from the stigma that it is a rich man’s sport. It probably is if you compare it to basketball or any typical team sport. The high cost of joining can burn holes in one’s pockets, let alone competing in a motorsport event. Quickly, millions of pesos can come and go as one aspires to build a competitive car, complete all the safety gear, and have supplies, logistics, and spares. Even the entry fees to various events can be prohibitive.
Traditionally, drivers who want to get into motorsports have had to turn to their parents or commercial sponsors for financial support. Understandably, kids who start karting don’t have the financial means to race. And it gets more expensive as one moves up to faster, race-prepared vehicles or dedicated race cars.
So when Toyota Motor Philippines decided to pick up the tab for a one-make series eight years ago, many in the motorsports scene got excited. With its one-make formula, a circuit racing event professionally ran, marketed, and played on a level field was realized. Almost a decade on, and with the calls for sustainability, hybrids, EVs, and eco-consciousness in general, is there still a need for a Vios Cup?
Short of saying Toyota needs a high-profile event highlighting the mundane Vios’ strengths, such as durability, performance, and value, we say that motorsports as a whole will continue to benefit from more years of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Vios Cup. Here’s why:
It elevates the stature of the sport
Run by Tuason Racing, the Vios Cup in the Philippines has been a shining example of how motorsports events should be conducted. From the scheduling of practice and race events, to the coordination with drivers and the provision of their standard safety gear, even how the races are broadcast and how crowds and the media are handled, are all worthy of emulation.
Of course, Toyota Motor Philippines’ marketing budget is on the line here. And so far, the company has spared no expense to make each Vios Cup a worthy event to watch. From celebrity racers to media autocross support races, concerts, and side activities, Toyota has gone to town to make the Vios Cup the standard for running motorsports events.
It improves the drivers’ skill
Over the years, we have witnessed teenagers who have moved up to the Vios Cup from other motorsports disciplines, such as autocross, slalom, and karting, make a name for themselves in the competitive environment of the one-make race.
This year’s Super Sporting Class champion, Iñigo Anton, is one fine example of how someone with talent and the proper backing can make it big in the Vios Cup.
The tight races brought about by the one-make formula allow drivers with racing skills to shine. It gets them noticed by potential sponsors or even other teams who might want to employ them.
It is a natural step up the ladder to a motorsports career
Kids nowadays start racing through karting. Here, their race craft is learned, tested, and compared to others. But drivers eventually aspire for faster racing disciplines as they grow up.
The Vios Cup has opened another level for kids in the local motorsport ladder. With all cars featuring the same racing parts and safety gear, drivers can concentrate on fine-tuning their skills in wheel-to-wheel action. They don’t have to worry if they mounted the faster tire or the bigger turbo. The concept of the one-make race works well for those slowly inching up racing disciplines without the astronomical expenses involved in building full-on race cars.
It employs mechanics, technicians, and a support crew
If you’ve ever been in a Vios Cup team garage, you’ll see a whole team of mechanics, engineers, former racers turned team managers, and even logistic drivers all gainfully employed, to support the driver and the team. Because no one in motorsports truly races by himself. A dedicated crew is usually behind a driver’s success and the car’s health.
It supports ancillary industries
One of the main reasons why racing and motorsports, in general, is expensive is the cost of parts, supplies, and equipment to keep the car going. Tires, brake pads, lubricants, fuels, and many other items must be kept in constant supply to be competitive. These are all bought from suppliers who have invested in their distributorship and have employed people to keep the supplies coming. Even the race track employs people who make a living by keeping it maintained and safe throughout a racing season.
One of the main reasons the Vios Cup should continue is that it has brought racing to the masses. A day trip to the Clark International Speedway is easily made, and more accessible than when we used to go to Subic back in the 1990s and 2000s to race. Grandstands are available, you can see celebrities in action, and you can even watch the action live on Facebook. The Toyota Gazoo Racing Vios Cup is a premier motorsports event that shows how racing should be done, and it has also shown over the years why.