By Aries B. Espinosa
THE 5th season of the Toyota Vios Cup will feature changes intended to make the races more competitive. This was revealed at the formal launch of Toyota Motor Philippines’ (TMP) one-make race series, held on March 23 at a Bonifacio Global City hotel. The Vios Cup is TMP’s all-out effort at a nationwide grassroots racing program that hopes to spot and develop local motor sport talents.
Jean Pierre Tuason of the Tuason Racing School, which oversees the race proper and the training of the participants, enumerated the changes and “upgrades” to this year’s Vios Cup.
Though there would still be three races for the season, one of these (Race 2) would be held in the Filinvest Corporate City grounds in Alabang, Muntinlupa City on July 28 and 29. Race 1 (April 27 and 28) and Race 3 (Sept. 21 and 22) would still be held at the Clark International Speedway in the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga.
Then there are additional parts to the racing-modified Vios sedans that will be allowed in the Super Sporting Class category, namely; the TRD rotor disc and the lightweight trunk lid and hood. Combined, these modifications can reduce a lap time by up to a second, Mr. Tuason said.
And since Race 2 will be held on the public streets of Alabang, there would be changes, as well, in the race format. Prior to the qualifying time trials on Day 1, and the wheel-to-wheel races on Day 2, an entire day has been dedicated to scrutineering and a track walk for all participants.
The 51 racing hopefuls for this season have been subdivided into Promotional, Sporting, Super Sporting and Celebrity classes. Many names are returning, some have moved up in class, while a few others are being introduced. To compete in Promotional class are Dimple Napat (Team Biskeg); Jinno Rufino (Growl-Thule Racing Team); Darrel Garbes (Toyota San Fernando); JJ Beredo. Julia de los Angeles and Miguel Cezar (Parts Pro Racing); Clive Fermin, Brian Currie and Bobby Pangilinan (Toyota Cebu); Vincent Courcol (AP Corse/Toyota Makati); Roy and Rudy Buñag (Toyota Bacoor/Flashback Racing); and Maila Alivia (Toyota Isabela).
Belonging in Sporting class are Oliver Matias (Toyota San Fernando); Donnvic Portugal and Rhaffy Latore (Toyota San Pablo); Ferdi Raquelsantos and Victor Buensuceso (Toyota Makati); Jon Effinger (AP Corse/Toyota Makati); Oscar Suarez and Lord Seno (Toyota Cebu); Robert Liles, Marc Soong and John Dizon (Obengers); Red Diwa (Toyota Isabela); Gel Napat (Team Biskeg); and Kiko Dysico (Toyota Cabanatuan).
Racing in Super Sporting class are Allan Uy (Manila Proof Racing); Aira Medrano (Toyota Alabang); Estefano Rivera, Keith Bryan Haw and Paulo Agregado (Obengers); Dominic Ochoa (Team TQA); Ramon Tanjuatco (AP Corse/Toyota Makati); Miko Maristela (Toyota Quezon Avenue); Bong Perez, Mark Sy and Ivan Diaz (Toyota San Pablo); Tonton Ramos (Toyota San Fernando); Jette Calderon (GM Motorsports/Toyota Cebu); Bryan Co and Gerard Loy (Team Biskeg); and Sean Velasco (Toyota Cebu).
The Celebrity class is composed of Gretchen Ho; husband-and-wife team of Troy Montero and Aubrey Miles; Fabio Ide; Sofia Andres; Chie Filomeno; Diego Loyzaga and Sam Milby.
In his remarks during the launch program of the Vios Cup’s 5th season, TMP President Satoru Suzuki said; “We are excited to bring again the Waku-Doki spirit to the Filipino public through this one-make race. The past four seasons of the Vios Cup, featuring the largest-selling passenger car in the country, has not only proven the Vios’s quality and durability, but most especially that it is fun to drive.”
All races can be watched by the public for free.