Zach David thrilled with maiden Formula 4 UAE win at Kuwait Motor Town

Ecstatic and screaming at the top of his lungs from inside his crash helmet. This was how Zachary ‘Zach’ David crossed the finish line during the Formula 4 UAE Championships’ third race of the weekend at Kuwait Motor Town as he claimed his maiden win in single-seaters.

Driving the #20 entry of R-ace GP in collaboration with Campos Racing, Zach was quick straight out of the box for Round 2 of the 2023 season. He set the fastest time in 2 out of the 5 test sessions and was in tune to the high speed flowing nature of the 5.609 km circuit. The Filipino driver, however, got a bit too overeager during QTT1 and lost his front wing. Unable to set a time, it meant that he had to start Race 1 from the back of the grid. But he made sure to make up for the mistake in QTT2 and was 5th fastest out of 38 runners.

A first lap pileup in Race 1 easily took out several drivers, which forced the session to be red flagged. Zach was one of the unfortunate few who failed to continue at the restart and had to watch the action from on the sidelines.

Zach was finally able to convert his strong pace into a solid result in Race 2. The 15-year-old found himself right in the thick of the championship battle that was brewing between more experienced drivers who were backed by Formula 1 teams. He was able to stay out of trouble throughout the 10-lap race and took the chequered flag in a solid 5th place, 3.347 secs behind the winner McLaren junior driver Ugo Ugochukwu.

Eventually, all things came together for Zach in the final race of the weekend. A chaotic first lap took out all other title contenders, which brought the Safety Car out. Now sitting in P2, he quickly disposed of Noah Lisle of Xcel Motorsport at the restart and took the lead. Zach then had to drive the hardest 8 laps in his motorsports career to just keep all the other drivers behind. Making no mistakes, he kept his head down and crossed the finish line in 1st place, scoring his very first victory by a massive 4.287 sec lead.

Zach David: “It feels really good the get my first win early into my F4 career. I was ecstatic and screaming inside my helmet when I crossed the finish line and it felt really good sas all the hard work paid off. I want to thank my whole team around me, my family, and everyone supporting me.”

There’ll be no time to rest for Zach as the action immediately resumes in a week’s time. Kuwait Motor Town is host to the only double-header weekend in the 2023 calendar with Round 3 scheduled on January 31 to February 1. Surely, the young Filipino will be looking to repeat his success next weekend.

For more info and the latest updates, follow ZachdavidRacing on Facebook and @zachdavidkarting on Instagram.

[Photo courtesy of Dutch Photo Agency and F4 UAE]

William Go is the first Filipino to bag 3 karting podiums in Europe

It’s already prestigious enough whenever a Filipino driver gets to represent his (or her) country in a motorsport event overseas. Even more so if they get to finish on the podium, on multiple occasions, and win a world championship event no less. To karter William John Riley Go, that was simply a summary of his 2022 season.

Born and raised in Cebu, William got into karting at the age of 6 after some mild persuasion from one of his dad’s friends. He then entered his first local race a year later, picked up his first national win soon after that, and was awarded Cadet Karter of the Year by 2018. Things then started to pick up the pace when raced internationally, racking up a fine collection of championship trophies from the IAME Series Asia, ROK Cup Singapore, and Asian Karting Open Championship (AKOC) in 2019.

His winning streak, however, was briefly cut off by the pandemic as it forced him to take a 2-year hiatus from motorsports. But when he eventually returned in 2022, it was as if he had never left and was just as quick around the track as before.

Now switching his focus to Europe, the WSK Super Master Series, IAME Euro Series, and FIA Karting Championships filled his calendar as he competed full time.

“Ever since I was 7 I had to get used to being away from my family due to racing. Although I have been doing it for a number of years already, it does not get easy. Being miles away from home has and will always be a struggle since I have to be away from home for long durations. Racing indeed entails sacrifice,” he commented about being away for a year.

But based on what the 14-year-old achieved, it was all worth the sacrifice.

William secured his first milestone back in May when he became the first ever Filipino to deliver a podium in the FIA Karting Academy. He was classified 2nd during the Finals out of an ultra-competitive 34-kart grid at Karting Genk in Belgium during the series’ 2nd event. The young Cebuano would later finish the season 6th overall in the championship.

He quickly followed this up with a Top 3 finish at the WSK Euro Series in July. Competing at the Circuito South Garda Karting in Italy, William fought his way up the standings and improved 4 places during the 17-lap Finals to cross the finish line in 3rd.

Ending the year with a bang, William accomplished his best result to date at the 2022 ROK Superfinals, again at Lonato in Italy. He was consistently one of the front runners in the new Super ROK category and qualified P3 for the Finals. Getting up to P2 was a clean pass on the opening lap, but taking the lead proved to be more difficult. He spent 15 laps hounding the leader and was running out of time to make a move. But at last, an opportunity opened up that allowed him to take 1st place with only 5 laps to go. William then put his head down to widen his lead to 5.119 secs by the time the chequered flag dropped, earning him his first race victory at a world championship event.

“There was a surreal amount of joy from myself and everyone who supported me. This one of a kind milestone would not have been possible without my family, my team,” he shared. “[It was] truly a one of a kind experience that motivates me to keep moving forward to reach my dreams despite how ambitious it may seem!”

So, what’s next for William Go? After finishing 2022 strong, he’s now back in Europe with confirmed entries in the FIA Karting European Championship, WSK Euro Series, and Super Master Series, again with the goal of delivering wins and podium finishes, while bringing pride to the Philippines.

Suzuki Auto Butuan re-opens with bigger, better 3S showroom

In partnership with Grand Canyon Multi-Holdings Inc., Suzuki Philippines has officially announced the re-opening of the bigger, better, and more accessible Suzuki Auto Butuan.

Now a 3S dealership, the new Suzuki Auto Butuan sits on a 3,200 sq. meter lot with a showroom that can accommodate 5 vehicles on display. It also features 6 service bays to cater to all Suzuki customers in the area and neighboring provinces. Moreover, it boasts well-trained and competent sales and service personnel.

“Today we mark another significant date in the country with the reopening of Suzuki dealership in Butuan City. This development is a testament to the resurgence of the city’s economic growth and the bright future it has to offer. With things now going back to normal, better things are set to happen in the CARAGA region and we hope to be part of more Butuanons as they make that to a reality,” said Norihide Takei, Director and General Manager for Automobile.

Lorenzo Aguilar II, Grand Canyon Vice President for Visayas and Mindanao Operations; Nycel Octubre, Suzuki Butuan Group Retail Manager; Norihide Takei, Suzuki Philippines Director and General Manager for Automobile; Peter U. Po, Grand Canyon Chairman; Alfredo Dalubatan Jr., Suzuki Butuan Group Retail Manager; and Ryan Jhay Santos, Grand Canyon Assistant Vice President for Visayas and Mindanao Operations.

The new Suzuki Auto Butuan is strategically located at National Highway, Baan Km. 3, Butuan City, Agusan Del Norte ready to serve growing customers in the city and the whole CARAGA region.

Customers may get in touch with Suzuki Auto Butuan through 0935-315-6807 or follow Suzuki Butuan on Facebook.

What inspired 10-year-old Kraige Berdos to become a karting champion

Kraige Berdos accomplished in his rookie year what others take years to achieve. He ended 2022 as Petron Cadet Novice and Clubrace Overall Champion, earning him the prize ‘Rookie Karter of the Year’ from the Golden Wheel Awards Foundation. That’s quite a feat for a 10-year-old, especially when you consider that he only got into karting 12 months ago.

Is it natural talent? Perhaps. But even natural talent needs a few catalysts to be fully realized.

Petron Motorsports Karting Academy His father Kad Berdos first took him karting in late 2021 as a family activity where Kraige immediately showed interest for the sport. So they gave it another go in January of 2022, renting a fun kart for the day at Carmona Race Track (CRT). There, they met someone who invited Kraige to something called the Petron Motorsports Karting Academy happening the following month, which they immediately signed up for.

Under the guidance of renowned coach Edgen Dy-Liacco, the one-day event taught newbies like Kraige the basics of karting. The program is a crash course into racing complete with driving exercise and lectures. While some simply see it as a fun experience for kids, for a select few it’s enough to create a spark for their love of motorsports.

Kraige was one of those few, who to his parent’s surprise, ended up winning the event. From that point on, they were hooked.

Mercedes Young Driver Development Philippines Naturally, the next step is to find Kraige a chassis, an engine, and a team for the upcoming karting season. That’s when they discovered the Mercedes Young Driver Development Philippines who took him under their wing.

The team helped them secure all the necessary racing equipment, design a proper training schedule, and craft a racing program fit for Kraige. For two months straight, he practiced every singe weekend in preparation for his first Petron Clubrace. More importantly, team coach Richard Peek saw the talent in Kraige and helped bright the best out of him.

“Driving style and technique all came from Richard,” Kad commented. “The impossible seemed possible.”

Kraige clearly showed potential. He learned fast, worked hard, and most importantly, loved what he was doing.

Come raceday he ended up 5th on his first event at Carmona, then 3rd at the Clark International Speedway Kart Track, and lo and behold, claimed his first win on the same track a month later. The sweet taste of victory lingered on for another race weekend when Kraige delivered another 1st place, this time at his home track in Carmona. A series of podium finishes followed and by now was already a serious contender for the Cadet Novice and Cadet Clubrace championships.

We already know how that fairytale ended, with Kraige winning both titles as a rookie. But it was the journey getting there, and not the awards, that truly mattered.

A Family Affair Transforming a newbie like Kraige into a champion is a story filled with love, joy, and sacrifice. His family would spend every weekend on track, rain or shine. His dad even took time off from work just to bring him to practice, while his mom Patit prepared their meals. Then there’s the cost. It’s no secret that karting is an expensive sport, which meant that his parents had to make some budget cuts here and there to fund their son’s passion.

Kraige is also no one-hit-wonder. He was faced with a steep learning curve to be at par with more seasoned karters. Part of the experience included painful crashes and several broken karts that somewhat lost his confidence. But his parents never gave up on him.

“We knew that he loved what he was doing. So we pushed him even more, supporting him mentally and emotionally,” his dad shared. “We reminded him that winning wasn’t important. He just has to continuously improve and that’s more than enough.”

But the willingness to win and become champion came from within Kraige himself.

“Right after the chequered flag of his final race, Kraige immediately hugged me after coming back from the pits. He was crying inside his helmet and I asked him why, but he did not respond. As his dad I just knew that everything he worked so hard for all year, all the pain and sacrifice, at that moment all became worth it,” Kad recalled.

So, what’s next for Kraige Berdos? If things go as planned, he’ll move up to MiniROK this year with Mercedes Young Driver Development Philippines. And to give back to the community, he’ll be guiding and coaching new and upcoming young karters in the team.

Kraige Berdos is supported by Team GTB Motorsports, Formula Juan Store, Egayworx, Rallynuts UK, and TitoNicAndMamaWorx.

Bianca Bustamante kicks off 2023 season in Formula 4 UAE with PREMA

It now appears that there will be two Filipino drivers on the grid when the 2023 Formula 4 UAE Championship gets the green light this weekend. After the announcement of Zach David with R-ace GP and Campos Racing, it has been confirmed that Bianca Bustamante has signed with PREMA to race a full season in the Middle East.

The 17-year-old is carrying the momentum from last year where she was hand-picked to race in W Series. She made an impressive start by scoring points on her global single-seater debut at the Miami GP and went on to complete the season 15th overall. Although the all-female-championship folded at the end of 2022 due to financial constraints, the Filipina driver was able continue her racing program and compete in the Indian Racing League in November.

Now just a few weeks into the new year and she’s back in the driver’s seat with an even bigger challenge. The highly-competitive Formula 4 UAE kicks off the 2023 racing calendar and is contested by 40 of the most promising young talents in the world. Beginning on the 13th/14th of January, the 5-round 15-race series will take Bianca (and all other drivers) to the Dubai Autodrome, and Kuwait Motor Town, and the Yas Marina Circuit home of the Abu Dhabi GP.

With her every step of the way is the renowned Italian team PREMA Racing. With over 40 years of experience, the squad is a mainstay in Formula 2, Formula 3, FRegional, and Formula 4. They also serve as a talent pool for the Ferrari Driver Academy with graduates such as Charles Leclerc, Mick Schumacher, and Guanyu Zhou.

There’s no doubt that Bianca will have some of the best driver training and technical support on-track from PREMA as she competes in Formula 4 UAE. She might also pick up a few tricks from teammates Nicola Lacorte from Italy and McLaren Young Driver Programme driver Ugo Ugochukwu.

Bianca’s race in Formula 4 UAE was made possible through the support from Lance East Office of successful gaming and tech entrepreneur Laurence Escalante. Mr Escalante is passionate about supporting rising talent in both business and motorsports and wishes Bianca all the best for 2023.

Formula 4 UAE Championship 2023 Calendar Pre-Season Test | January 9 & 11 (Dubai Autodrome, UAE) Round 1 | January 13-14 (Dubai Autodrome, UAE) Round 2 | January 27-28 (Kuwait Motor Town, Kuwait) Round 3 | February 1-2 (Kuwait Motor Town, Kuwait) Round 4 | February 11-12 (Dubai Autodrome, UAE) Round 5 | February 18-19 (Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi)

Bianca Bustamante: “I’m very excited to be joining PREMA for the F4 UAE. PREMA is one of the most prestigious racing organizations in the world, and it’s truly an honor to be able to drive for them. This winter, I will gain much-needed seat time to perform at my best in competition as we head into the 2023 season. Thank you PREMA for giving me this incredible opportunity. Most importantly, thanks to Laurence Escalante and Lance East Exotics for believing in me and supporting me on my racing journey.”

Rene Rosin, PREMA Team Principal: “We are delighted to welcome Bianca for 2023 as she joins us for F4 UAE. We are really looking forward to working with her and I think Bianca will be an outstanding fit right from the start considering what she was able to achieve in her first season in single-seaters. We will support her progression to the maximum to help her express her full potential.”

Zach David signs full F4 UAE program with R-ace GP in collaboration with Campos Racing

Now onto his first full season of Formula car racing, we’ve come to know that Zachary ‘Zach’ David has committed to a full season in the upcoming 2023 Formula 4 UAE Championship. The 15-year-old will be driving for R-ace GP’s entry in collaboration with Campos Racing and is expected to hit the track this week.

Zach made the big switch from karting to single-seaters in late 2022 after spending 2.5 years racing his way around Europe in Juniors and Seniors. He debuted back in August and became the very first Filipino driver to compete in the ADAC Formula 4 Championship. The one-off outing at Lausitzring yielded a strong 5th place finish, which got his talent noticed by top teams. Still competing with US Racing (owned by Gerhard Ungar and Ralf Schumacher), he then made two appearances Italian F4 Championship at Red Bull Ring and Monza with a best result of 7th place.

With the new year also comes a new team. R-ace GP from France has over a decade of experience in single-seaters, producing successful graduates that include names such as Robert Schwartzman, Oscar Piastri, Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon, and Nyck De Vries.

R-ace GP will enter a total of four cars in Formula 4 UAE. Zach’s teammates include Alexander Abkhazava from Georgia, Jesse Carrasquedo Jr. from Mexico, and Raphaël Narac from France. If you’re wondering why Zach is not racing the Philippine flag, it just so happens that his racing license is issued by Malta, but he is 100% Filipino by heart.

The 2023 calendar of Formula 4 UAE will see the series visit three circuits over five events in just a span of six weeks. It kicks off at the Dubai Autodrome on the 13th/14th of January before the back-to-back rounds at Kuwait Motor Town, then back again to Dubai. The finale is scheduled on the 18th/19th of February at the famed Yas Marina Circuit, home of the Abu Dhabi GP.

Formula 4 UAE Championship 2023 Calendar Pre-Season Test | January 9 & 11 (Dubai Autodrome, UAE) Round 1 | January 13-14 (Dubai Autodrome, UAE) Round 2 | January 27-28 (Kuwait Motor Town, Kuwait) Round 3 | February 1-2 (Kuwait Motor Town, Kuwait) Round 4 | February 11-12 (Dubai Autodrome, UAE) Round 5 | February 18-19 (Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi)

Of the 39 drivers confirmed for the curtain raiser at the Dubai Autodrome, it so happens that Zach isn’t the only Filipino on the grid. Lady driver Bianca Bustamante will likewise run the full 2023 calendar with Prema Racing.

Zach David: “I don’t like to go into a race with expectations, but what I always want from myself is the best I can do. Battling with other drivers should be tough but fun and it’s a great way to learn racing. This will be my first time racing with R-ace GP and I look forward to learning a lot from the experience I will gain throughout the season.”

For more info and the latest updates, follow ZachdavidRacing on Facebook and @zachdavidkarting on Instagram.

[Photos courtesy of Dutch Photo Agency]

Contact denies Miguel Quiñones of podium at IAME Asia Finals in Shah Alam

With only 7 laps to go in the Finals, Miguel Quiñones came together with another driver at the Shah Alam International Kart Circuit in Malaysia. The Filipino karter may have survived the contact and made it to the finish, but it was enough to take him out of contention for a podium.

The newly-crowned Golden Wheel Driver of the Year awardee was using the IAME Asia Finals 2022 as a training ground ahead of 2023 karting season. It was also a good opportunity for him to get accustomed to a Parolin chassis, which he will switch to this year. And to make the most out of the outing, he brought along with him coach and multi-awarded former karter VJ Suba for the weekend.

Despite it being his first time at Shah Alam, Miguel was only about half a second off the front runners and placed midway up the time sheets after all the work his team Double R Motorsports (DRM Racing) put in during Practice. He eventually managed to get some consistency and build on his confidence by Saturday afternoon just in time for the main event the next day.

His best efforts yielded 6th during the Time Trials then a 6th and 7th during the Heats, respectively. Making steady progress at every session, Miguel later landed in a strong 5th place in the Pre Finals.

Now starting from the third row of the grid, he got his head down and went on attack mode during the all-important Finals. He found a way up to P4 in the opening stages and had the karter in P3 in his crosshairs.

But as the late Formula 1 commentator Murray Walker used to say, “catching is one thing, but passing is quite another.”

He made a clean overtake to move up to P3 and was en route to chase after P2. But the other karter was not willing to give up the position that easily. His rival forced his way around the outside in an attempt to regain the place. However, the move did not stick and Miguel ended up getting hit from the side with force.

Although he was able to continue, it dropped him down to a lowly 9th place and lost him a possible podium finish.

Looking past the missed opportunities, there were still a lot of learnings from the race weekend which will greatly help Miguel when the season begins back home in February

Miguel Quiñones: “The whole weekend was decent and we were able to achieve our goals, but it definitely could have been better. I was only a few tenths off my teammate who’s also the current champion even if it was my first time at Shah Alam. We missed out on a possible podium finish if it weren’t for the crash in the finals, but I hold no grudges against the other driver as it was a racing incident.”

VJ Suba, Driver Coach: “ It’s a pity that Migs missed out on a podium finish, but overall we’re happy to see him battling with big names in Asia. We’re proud of him on how much he has improved over the last year. But he still needs a bit more experience competing with big grids which is why we have a program to race in different regions.”

Miguel Quiñones is sponsored by RZQ The Aesthetic Surgery Clinic, RZQ Aesthetic Medicine Institude, Derma Medica, Wuerth Philippines, and Vanguard Guarantee Insurance Consultancy.

[Photos by Dice Photowerkz]

Pinnacle Motorsport and Van Amersfoort Racing team up for FRMEC and F4 UAE

Two renowned teams in single-seater racing have joined forces to mount a serious campaign in the Middle East. A collaboration between Pinnacle Motorsport and Van Amersfoort Racing will see them run together under Pinnacle VAR as they take on both the Formula Regional Middle East Championship (FRMEC) Certified by FIA and Formula 4 UAE Championship in 2023.

This is Pinnacle Motorsport’s 6th season competing in the region with considerable success. The Irish-licensed squad was crowned vice-champions in 2020, 2021, and again in 2022 when the series was still named F3 Asian and Formula Regional Asian Championship. They then expanded their program by entering two cars in Formula 4 UAE last year.

Van Amersfoort Racing (VAR), on the other hand, is one of the biggest racing teams from Europe. Based in the Netherlands, it runs programs in Formula 2, Formula 3, Formula 4, EuroFormula Open, and the Formula Regional European Championship with several team and driver titles to their name. Graduates of VAR include the likes of Formula 1 drivers Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, and Mick Schumacher.

Running as Pinnacle VAR, the team has confirmed to enter seven cars in total between the two championships.

Kai Daryanani from India and Jack Beeton from Australia are confirmed to race the full 2023 calendar in Formula 4 UAE. Meanwhile, Hiyu Yamakoshi from Japan and Brando Badoer son of former Ferrari and Minardi F1 driver Luca Badoer will share a car. Brando will join for Rounds 1, 4, and 5 while Hiyu will compete Rounds 2 and 3.

Pepe Marti will be reunited with the team that helped him become Formula Regional Asian vice champion last year. This time the Spanish driver will be racing with Pinnacle VAR in FRMEC only for Rounds 1 and 4. Joining him in the team are Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak from Thailand, Niels Koolen from the Netherlands, and Rafael Villagomez from Mexico.

The brand new Formula Regional Middle East will visit three circuits over five events in just a span of six weeks. The series will make two stops at the Dubai Autodrome and one stop at the F1 Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. The highlight of the season is the Kuwait Motor Town in Kuwait. Opened in December 2019, the FIA Grade I Hermann Tilke-designed facility will host Rounds 2 and 3 of the 2023 championship.

Formula Regional Middle East / Formula 4 UAE 2023 Calendar Pre-Season Test | January 9 & 11 (Dubai Autodrome, UAE) Round 1 | January 13-14 (Dubai Autodrome, UAE) Round 2 | January 27-28 (Kuwait Motor Town, Kuwait) Round 3 | February 1-2 (Kuwait Motor Town, Kuwait) Round 4 | February 11-12 (Dubai Autodrome, UAE) Round 5 | February 18-19 (Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi)

John O’Hara, Pinnacle Motorsport Team Director: “I’m looking forward to the new season in Formula Middle East and F4 UAE in our collaboration with Van Amersfoort Racing. We’ve have a lot of respect for what they’ve achieved and what they’re capable of. Now, we join forces with one of the best teams in Europe and hope to share not just knowledge and experience with VAR, but also race victories as we work together as one.”

Rob Niessink, VAR CEO: “Pinnacle Motorsport shares the same passion towards driver development as we do, which makes them the perfect partner to team up with for both FRMEC and F4 UAE. Entering these championships was already on our radar, and we are excited that we were able to set up the partnership with Pinnacle Motorsport. They have strongly established themselves, so joining forces will create a great opportunity to benefit from each other. It is yet again another new chapter for us, and we look forward to getting back to racing soon!”

Accompanying Pinnacle Motorsport on their Formula Regional Middle East Championship Certified by FIA campaign are partners Motorsport Ireland.

Miguel Quiñones back racing overseas at IAME Asia Finals in Shah Alam

The newly-crowned Golden Wheel Driver of the Year awardee is already back behind the driver’s seat just a week into the new year. Miguel Quiñones is currently at the Shah Alam International Kart Circuit in Malaysia ready to take on the best drivers in the region at the 2022 IAME Asia Finals this January 8.

The IAME Asia Finals is the culminating event of the IAME Series Asia’s 2022 calendar. But due to scheduling conflicts, what is effectively a 2022 event is being held in 2023.

Miguel will be making an attempt in the Seniors Category. He’s once again running with Double R Motorsports (DRM Racing) whom he regularly races with for events in Malaysia. While a podium finish or a win is the target, the Filipino karter also have other goals in mind. By competing outside the country, he’s able to test his skills against other Asian champions and learn from the experience. This should further improve his race craft, which will be vital when he aims for another Senior Class championship back home.

More regional and global appearances are also expected from Miguel scattered across 2023.

Practice for the 2022 IAME Asia Finals begins on Friday (January 6) ’til Saturday with Time Trials, Heats, and Finals all happening on Sunday (January 8).

Miguel Quiñones is sponsored by RZQ The Aesthetic Surgery Clinic, RZQ Aesthetic Medicine Institude, Derma Medica, Wuerth Philippines, and Vanguard Guarantee Insurance Consultancy.

Miguel Quiñones receives coveted 2022 Driver of the Year award

Handed out annually by the Golden Wheel Awards Foundation, the title ‘Driver of the Year’ is reserved for an individual who has displayed exemplary performance in the field of motorsports in a given year. It’s not confined to a specific discipline, be it on 4 wheels or 2, but more often than not it’s given to the newly-crowned touring car champion. So it caught karter Miguel Quiñones by surprise when called up on stage to receive the prestigious award.

It’s only fitting that the 5x karting champion be named ‘Driver of the Year’. His achievements in 2022 alone include winning the overall titles in both the Rok GP Super Karting Series and Rotax MAX Challenge Philippines’ Senior Class, for which was also awarded as Senior Karter of the Year during the same prize-giving ceremony.

“It was also an honor because it has been a long time since the last awardee was from karting, so I felt like this award is a big win for the karting community in the Philippines,” he shared.

It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to win two championships in a single year. Migs also experienced a few ups and downs during the season and revealed that he went through a rough patch mid-year. Issues in both personal and professional aspects hindered his performance, but he persevered and focused on what he did best which was racing.

Apart from racing in the Philippines, Migs also competes on a global level. He and sister Shaniah kicked off the year by entering the Rotax MAX Challenge Malaysia back in March. After the local championship was over, he then flew to South Garda Karting in Lonato, Italy for the Rok Cup Superfinal then the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals in Portimao. The Quiñones family finally wrapped up the 2022 season at Rotax MAX Challenge Asia Festival in Langkawi.

Migs also returned to the Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) Vios Cup where he scored several podium finishes with Obengers Racing.

“Obviously this wouldn’t have happened without the DRQ family, the Suba family, our sponsors, my mentors from Malaysia, England, Italy, and the Philippines, and everyone else,” said Migs.

Now focusing on 2023, Migs plans to continue in Senior karts and make an attempt for a possible 6th or even 7th championship. The only big change for the upcoming season is the switch from OTK to a Parolin chassis. He also confirmed that he will be back in the TGR Vios Cup for a 3rd season and plans on entering several events in autocross and rallycross.

[Photo courtesy of VJ Bacungan, AutoFun Philippines]

FV1 Champion Daniel Miranda takes 8th in Vita Club season ender at Suzuka

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Travel restrictions due to the global pandemic meant that Daniel Miranda had to wait a full year to claim his prize as the 2021 Formula V1 Champion. And that opportunity finally came to fruition last December 10/11 when he took part in the Vita Club season ender in Japan.

Driving for Obengers Racing, he was loaned a black-liveried #20 VITA-01 (renamed Formula V1 in the Philippines) by West Racing Cars for the race weekend. It’s identical to the car he used to win the 2021 championship back home, down to its 110hp Toyota 1NZ engine, so everything should feel natural for Daniel. This also wasn’t the first time for the 26-year-old to race at Suzuka Circuit. He got his taste of the 5.807 km track about 3 years ago where he was invited to the ‘Vita of Asia’ event and finished 3rd.

This time though, things were a bit different. Back in 2019, the race was held during the middle of the year when the weather was warm and toasty. But adjusting to the chilly conditions later in the year proved to be more challenging than expected. Add to the fact that it’s been more than a year since he last saw action in the driver’s seat.

Hence, it came as no surprise when he ended up in a lowly P17 out of 25 entries during QTT and was 2.957 secs off pole. But while he was clearly not at 100%, the Filipino driver is not the type to make excuses and was ready to bring his best on race day.

Daniel only had 8 laps to make up for the previous day’s setback and carry the Philippine flag to the front. He immediately got to work as soon as the lights went out and proceeded to pick up 5 positions just on the opening lap. #20 machine then continued its charge through the field as the other drivers seem to struggle with tire temperatures. Through sheer determination, he would make up a total of 9 spots over the course of an 8 lap race to cross the finish line in a respectable 8th, just 13.657 secs behind the winner.

Daniel Miranda: “It was a decent race, and it felt great to be back on track after not racing for more than two years. I felt happy that I still have it in me to race and push myself without any struggle. Aside from that, I finished 8th despite staying at the far back of the grid because of my Qualifying result. It was challenging, not having enough time to do car preparation and practice, but overall I’m happy with the result and the experience here in Suzuka.”

The Formula V1 Challenge is a partnership between Tuason Racing and West Racing of Japan, supported by GITI Tires, Oakley, FASA, Brembo, OMP, and Rota. Alongside its Media partners, Autodeal, Autocar, C! Magazine, Time Attack Manila, Inquirer, and Wheels.

Vincent Floirendo brings home 3rd in 2022 Audi Sport Asia Trophy

It appears that there’s still more accolades and awards waiting for Vincent Floriendo before the year comes to a close. The Filipino driver has recently been handed 3rd place in the 2022 Audi Sport Asia Trophy for his efforts (and achievements) in the recently-concluded Thailand Super Series (TSS).

Vincent once again campaigned the #55 ENsport Audi R8 LMS, now with the latest EVO 2 spec. It took him to races at the Bangsaen Street Circuit, Buriram International Circuit, and the most prestigious of them all, the Marina Bay Street Circuit as a support race for the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix.

In the first few outings, the #55 machine wore an iconic livery featuring the colors of the Philippine flag including the eight-rayed golden sun. But it then switched back to the more traditional white-and-grey hues of ENsport Motors.

He shared the car with German GT ace Pierre Kaffer for the first two events, drove solo at the Singapore GP, before ex-DTM and GT1 driver Markus Winkelhock came in as his new co-driver for the last two rounds in Thailand. The highlights of the year were his two 3rd places and a best 2nd place finish at the season finale in Buriram. In the end, we would cap off the year 4th Overall in the Super GT3 Class Pro-Am Championship, remarkably on his very first attempt in the highly-competitive Thailand Super Series.

Aside from a fine-looking Audi Sport Asia Trophy, Vincent also receives €15,000 in ‘spare parts credit’, which he can then use for future Audi GT races.

Alexander Blackie, Manager of Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia: “The Audi Sport Asia Trophy was set up to reward our customers for their success on track and to recognise their commitment to racing with the four rings – whether it’s with the R8 LMS GT3, GT4 or RS 3 LMS – across Asia’s leading series and events. This year alone, we have had 62 different competitors scoring points for the Audi Sport Asia Trophy, a testament to the strength of our Asia-wide programme and the passion of our customers and teams.”

After the Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup folded in ’19, it was replaced by the Audi Sport Asia Trophy. This new competition is made for all privateer Audi drivers racing across multiple championships in Asia. FIA Bronze-ranked drivers competing in an Audi R8 LMS GT3, GT2, GT4, or an Audi RS 3 LMS are all eligible for the Trophy and awarded based on points scored in the season, even if they’re not all racing on the same grid.