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10 years of “Waku-doki” and counting

10 years of “Waku-doki” and counting

Ronald Rey M. de los Reyes

It was in October 2013 when Filipino motorsports enthusiasts first took a glimpse of how one auto giant laid the foundations for today’s much-anticipated premier one-make-race series, the biggest the country has ever seen.

After 10 long years, Toyota Motor Philippines is still ever relentless. With its legacy of championing local motorsports, the “Waku-doki” affair has now ballooned to its flagship Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) program. Its 2023 edition–in fact–is staged by giving both racing talents and fans alike the adrenaline-pumping action they yearn through the TGR Vios Cup and the TGR Gran Turismo (GT) Cup, the biggest national e-sports championship tilt.

This July 1, Saturday, kicks off leg 1 of the three-leg series at the Clark International Speedway in Pampanga. It will be a day jam-packed with races and fun activities for everyone to enjoy.

The 2023 TGR Vios Cup will pit both seasoned and upcoming racers head-to-head at the track. They will battle tooth and nail for the podium spots in the Super Sporting, Sporting, and Promotional classes of its Circuit Championship event.

Meantime, celebrities and media personalities will have their chance to duel it out in the tightly contested Autocross Challenge.

“Waku-doki” beginnings

For the past 10 years, TMP’s Vios Cup has already made a colorful history.

In late 2013, TMP staged the first-ever Vios Cup with an exhibition affair at the same race venue in Pampanga. With the frenzy, participants came in droves the following year.

Homegrown professional and amateur teams were excited to race onboard the locally-made, the Toyota Vios.

In fact, in 2014, TMP, together with the organizers were able to orchestrate one of the biggest starting grids, not just locally, but in Asia when it gathered 70 cars, composing of drivers from seasoned karters, veteran car racers to celebrities.

The racing affair has also taken both fans and racers to various venues to experience different terrains and atmospheres, from the public streets of Cebu, Alabang, Pasay, all the way to Taguig.

Continuing the legacy

First lighting the torch for the much-anticipated racing event was TMP’s former president, Michinobu Sugata. A couple more headships after him, the racing spectacle has grown and has further developed into other branches, like the TGR Academy and other driver development programs and sim-racing stints.

Speaking of sim-racing, the TGR GT Cup gathers e-motorsports players all over the country to compete in the local scene.

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After three qualifying rounds, the best will face off live in a national finals to be held in Manila.

Winners will then go on to represent the country at the TGR GT Cup Asia Regional Finals. They will be competing for flag and country against other champion e-racers from neighboring Asian countries.

Also, winners of the 2023 season will have a chance to try their skills on the actual track at the TGR Vios Cup.

On a personal note, this writer is grateful and–this time–will “gun for the gold” after last season’s podium finishes at the Autocross Challenge.

Surely, it’s going to be one helluva race this Saturday!