Pinnacle Motorsport to run in both Formula Regional Asia and Formula 4 UAE

It’s going to be a busy couple of weeks for Pinnacle Motorsport as they take on 2 championships at the same time. We’ve learned that the Motorsport Ireland-team is entering a total of 5 cars in the Formula Regional Asian Championship Certified by FIA and FIA Formula 4 UAE Championship powered by Abarth that share the same 2022 calendar.

Dilano van ‘t Hoff is heading the team’s charge in the newly-renamed Formula Regional Asian Championship. The 17-year-old Dutchman had a string of podiums and race wins in F4 UAE last year and is the reigning F4 Spanish Champion. He will be joined by Pepe Marti whom he raced against in both series. Marti scored several podiums and race wins in his first year in single-seaters and finished 3rd overall in F4 Spanish Drivers’ Championship.

Dilan van ‘t Hoff
Pepe Marti

Ayato Iwasaki will be Pinnacle Motorsport’s third driver in the Formula Regional Asian Championship. Interestingly, the Japanese youngster is heading straight into this regional series straight from karts, skipping Formula 4 altogether.

A surprise entry is Salih Yoluc who is a renowned driver in the world of sports car racing and prototypes. He has had strong results in events such as the Dubai 24 Hours, 24 Hours of Spa, Blancpain GT Series, FIA World Endurance Championship, and finished 2nd in GTE in the European Le Mans Series. Yoluc is also the first ever Turkish driver to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a GTE Am victory in 2020. But now, the 36-year-old has decided to give single-seaters a try.

Pinnacle Motorsport finished runner-up in the series on 2 occasions in the past, back when it was still called the F3 Asian Championship. Surely, they won’t be playing second fiddle as they gunning for the driver’s title in 2022.

Jules Castro

Meanwhile, they’ll be entering a single car in the FIA Formula 4 UAE Championship shared by Jules Castro and Jef Machiels.

Castro will be competing in the first 2 events in January with Pinnacle Motorsport. The karter from Belgium has been extensively testing in Europe late last year to prepare for his Formula 4 debut. His countrymen Jef Machiels will then take over the team’s entry for the remaining 3 events. Also an accomplished karter in Europe, the 17-year-old took part in the F4 UAE’s pre-season test at the Dubai Autodrome in December over 2 days.

Formula Regional Asian Championship / FIA Formula 4 UAE Championship 2022 Calendar Round 1 | January 21-23 (Yas Marina Circuit, UAE) Round 2 | January 28-30 (Dubai Autodrome, UAE) Round 3 | February 4-6 (Dubai Autodrome, UAE) Round 4 | February 11-13 (Dubai Autodrome, UAE) Round 5 | February 17-20 (Yas Marina Circuit, UAE)

The 5-round 2022 race calendar of both championships will all be based in the UAE. It kicks off on the 21st of January at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit before moving to the Dubai Autodrome for 3 consecutive rounds. The season finale will see the series return to Yas Marina on the 17th of February.

Accompanying Pinnacle Motorsport on their Formula Regional Asian Championship Certified by FIA and F4 UAE Championship Certified by FIA campaign is partners Motorsport Ireland.

Iñigo Anton will be the lone Ph driver in the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual

0

2021 was a banner year for Iñigo Anton. He claimed the Vios Cup Sporting Class title and finished runner-up in the Gold category of ERacing GP. Now, barely a month into the new year, he’s back behind the driver seat to set yet another milestone with a confirmed entry into the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual.

The 17-year-old will race under the team of ex-Formula 1 driver Alex Yoong this coming January 15/16. SEM9 Flash Axle is entering a white-and-orange liveried Oreca 07 LMP2 which Iñigo will share with Naquib Nor Azlan from Malaysia, Ar Muhammad Aleef (aka Aleef Hamilton) from Singapore, and Josh Purwien from Australia. They’ll be up against a 50-car grid split between LMP prototypes and GTE cars, with star-studded drivers such as Juan Pablo Montoya and newly-crowned Formula 1 World Drivers’ Champion Max Verstappen just to name a few.

Axle Sports

“Our team boss Alex Yoong, our race engineer, and our whole team have been preparing hard for the 24 Hour of Le Mans Virtual and we are super excited to be racing with the world champions of both real life and sim racing. We hope to finish in the top ten and we will do our best to represent the region,” said Iñigo.

He is the lone Filipino driver of all 39 countries represented by 200 elite sim and pro racers in the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual. Echoing its real-world big brother, the race will be green lit at 9:00 PM local time and can be watched live on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch. This event serves as the finale of the inaugural Le Mans Virtual Series with 50% of the entire $250,000 prize available for the standalone 24-hour race.

Access Plus Racing-Okada Manila braces for epic 2021 PSBK title showdown

Access Plus Racing-Okada Manila is bracing for their toughest weekend this 2021 as the team heads into season finale of the Philippine Superbike Championship (PSBK) with 2 titles at stake. Father-and-son duo Timothy Joseph “TJ” and Toti Alberto are both leading their respective categories and aim to take the championship this 11th and 12th of December at the Clark International Speedway (CIS).

TJ has delivered a near-perfect season so far taking 7 wins out of 8 races. He and his #77 Ducati Panigale V4R has been dominant at every outing, which the team hopes to maintain in the season ender. Despite his string of victories, Access Plus Racing-Okada Manila is still finding improvements on both TJ and the bike made evident when the 24-year-old ace smashed the CIS track record with a 1:50.137 lap during the previous round. With a 27 point lead in the championship, his main focus will be on securing the Superbike Rider of the Year title.

Troy Alberto is also joining the team’s lineup on a Honda CBR1000RR. The younger Alberto managed to land a podium finish back in October despite nursing a shoulder injury. Now fully recovered, he’s back ready to fight at the front of the Expert Class and join his brother on the podium.

Family patriarch Toti Alberto is likewise in a championship battle of his own in the Masters Class. Riding a red-and-white liveried Ducati Panigale V4R, he has 6 race wins to his name this 2021 and looks to add to that collection this coming race weekend. The strong performance has earned him a 56 point advantage and is on route to take the championship. While the 53-year-old multi-titled veteran shows no signs of slowing down, this could be Toti’s last season in PSBK and there’s no better way to conclude an illustrious career than taking the Masters Class crown

The season ender of the 2021 Philippine Superbike Championship will take place from the 11th to 12th of December at the Clark International Speedway for a double header of Rounds 5 and 6.

TJ Alberto: “I’m looking to do my best to continue to score the points necessary to take the rider of the year title as I head into the weekend with a 27 point lead. All our efforts will be focused on the championship for Access Plus Racing-Okada Manila. If I can get some race wins in the process it will be a good bonus.”

Troy Alberto: “Excited to do the last PSBK round. I struggled in the last one with a shoulder injury and just not being prepared enough with the bike. I think we’re now ready to put up a serious fight and I can’t wait to battle it out with the other guys and help add to the team’s tally of trophies.”

Toti Alberto: “Happy to be leading the Masters Class in PSBK. I am already 53-years-old and this might be my last championship season, so this means a lot to me. It has been a great season for the entire team, especially after being away from the tracks for a year, but it’s even more special that I get to race alongside TJ and Troy.”

Access Plus Racing-Okada Manila is sponsored by Okada Manila, Essenza, Macbeth, Öhlins Philippines, AELLA, Lv8, and Ducati Philippines.

[Photo courstey of News Moto]

Zach David is now a full-fledged Sauber Karting Team driver

Homegrown talent Zachary ‘Zach’ David is really making a name for himself in the world of karting, especially with his string of strong results in Europe. One group that took notice of his talent is the Sauber Karting Team who has now taken the 14-year-old Filipino under their wing.

Yes, its THE junior team of Sauber Motorsport AG which, as you know, currently competes under the name Alfa Romeo Racing in Formula 1. This squad in particular is created in partnership with Kart Republic and managed by Team Principal Dino Chiesa. The rare opportunity gives Zach access to the team’s wealth of knowledge from their years competing at the top level of karting. But more importantly, as 1 of only 4 drivers in the Sauber Karting Team in the world, it presents him with a clear path up the motorsports ladder and maybe even into Formula 1 some day.

Zach David Sauber Karting Team

The contract will see Zach compete in the OK Senior Class in all major international karting events of 2022 under the Sauber Karting Team. Based on his calendar, he’ll be competing over a dozen major events in both WSK and CIK. That will require him to race full time and shuffle between several European countries from January ’til November.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed that Zach will also be given a chance to race in single seaters in the not so distant future as the Sauber Junior Team does have entries in Formula 4, Formula 3, and Formula 2.

Zach has been competing with Kart Republic since 2019 and impressed the team with his speed even from his early days in OK Junior. After jumping over to Senior, his continuous development and constant presence in the Top 10 got him noticed, earning him a spot in the Sauber Karting Team.

Zach David Sauber Karting Team

Zach David: “It feels rewarding to be part of the Sauber Karting Team, as I have been working really hard towards this goal, to be part of a top-level program for young athletes to develop their talents. This opportunity would further help me in my career with all the connections that Sauber has, and as a Filipino it feels good to be able to represent my country on the world stage of motorsports. I would like to take this opportunity to say many thanks to the Kart Republic family, especially Mr. Dino Chiesa for this opportunity! Also to the Automobile Association Philippines, Malta Motorsport Federation, and Karting Club Malta.”

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

Zach David Sauber Karting Team

Eduardo Coseteng steps up to GB3 Championship for season finale at Donington

With still a race still to go in this year’s British F4 Championship, Eduardo Coseteng is already weighing his options for 2022. And moving up to the GB3 Championship seems to be the most logical step, which prompted him to make a one-off appearance at the season finale this weekend. Fortec Motorsport has announced that the Filipino driver will be part of the team’s lineup and is set to make his series debut at Donington Park on the 16th/17th of October.

Eduardo has enjoyed a solid rookie season in the 2021 British F4 Championship so far. Driving for Argenti Motorsport, he made a strong impression at the curtain raiser with a 4th place finish at Thruxton. Eduardo then maintained his consistent point-scoring form all season with a maiden podium finish at Donington Park just a week ago. This places him 7th in the Rookie Cup standings and 14th overall in the Drivers’ Championship.

But for this weekend, he’ll be racing the colors of Fortec Motorsport and join his new teammates Roberto Faria and Mikkel Grundtvig. Be on the lookout for #16 red-and-white liveried machine bearing the names of his sponsors Petron Corporation and AutoPlus Sportzentrium.

Qualifying is scheduled on Saturday morning with the first race to follow in the afternoon. Sunday then features 2 races, both to be live-streamed across GB3’s YouTube and social media channels.

Eduardo Coseteng: “I want to start by saying a massive thank you to Fortec Motorsport, as well as my sponsors Petron and AutoPlus for this amazing opportunity. I’m feeling really excited to try something new, and to seeing what I’m capable of in the GB3 car. It’s a very competitive series, and I’m coming up against opposition with far more mileage in these cars, so there’s no expectations; I can go out, enjoy my racing and continue gathering experience to help inform my future. I’m looking forward to working with everybody in the team, as well as Roberto and Mikkel, to try and help the team end the season strongly.”

Oliver Dutton, Team Manager: “We’ve monitored Eduardo’s progress all season, albeit as his competition, and have been impressed, so it’s good to have an opportunity to work together. In Roberto and Mikkel, he has 2 good team-mates as a reference point for his first weekend in the series. There’s no expectation on him, this is just an exercise in getting some mileage in the car and getting a feel for what the championship is like. We look forward to seeing how he gets on and supporting him in that process.”

Quiñones siblings set to compete in karting world finals in Italy

Motorsports truly run through the veins of the Quiñones family with siblings Miguel and Shasha spending most of the year racing on track. But for 2 very special weekends this October, they’ll be competing a few thousand kilometers away from the usual events in the Philippines for the karting world finals in Italy.

Older brother Miguel is one busy driver this 2021. He officially moved up to touring cars and race for Obengers Racing in the Toyota GAZOO Racing Vios Cup. Although he missed the first event, it’s also confirmed that he’s entering the Giti Formula V1 Championship this year.

Now, he’s going back to his roots in karting as he has earned a slot in the renowned Rok Cup Superfinal. Taking place from the 13th to 16th of October at the South Garda Karting Circuit, the event’s massive entry list run into the hundreds making it a real test of nerves for the 18-year-old. Miguel’s category in Senior Rok in particular already has 67 entries alone and he needs to put on a strong performance if he wants to make it into the Finals come Saturday.

As if that’s not tough enough, he’ll have to do it all over again less than a week later. Miguel will only have 2 days after the Rok Cup Superfinal to pack his belongings, travel 2 hours east of Italy, and make it into the IAME Warriors Final from the 18th to 23rd of October at the Adria International Raceway. He’ll be up against 340 of the best IAME drivers worldwide. What makes this special occasion extra special though is that he’ll be sharing the track with his younger sister Shasha.

An accomplished karter herself, the 17-year-old just recently moved up to the Senior Category and is now set to make her European race debut. The 2019 Intermediate Class Overall Champion admits that she’s still adjusting to the heavier, quicker karts but is determined to do well in Italy and show what a lady driver can do in a grid dominated by boys. Both siblings will compete with Zanchi Motorsport in X30 Senior under the Philippine flag.

The clash in schedules, however, means that Miguel will be missing the second event of the Toyota GAZOO Racing Vios Cup. His thoughts are with his team Obengers Racing as he represents the country with honor and pride in Italy.

Miguel Quiñones: “It’s good to finally be back racing abroad after about a year and a half since my last race overseas. To be honest I’m a little nervous, but excited at the same time as I’m racing in 2 back-to-back events. I always still have more to learn and this is a great opportunity for me to improve my craft. This is also my first time to race in Europe with my sister Shasha, so I’ll also be watching over her so she can do the best she can in Italy. I would like to thank my parents for their unwavering support and to the Automobile Association Philippines and Kart Plaza for giving me this opportunity.”

Shasha Quiñones: “Miguel and Dr. Q Motorsports has been helping me a lot these past few months to prepare for this race and I really want to do well. I’m looking forward to learn from the new experience. My goal is to be able to drive competitively in a big grid and get better in overtaking. I would like to thank my family for giving my brother and I the opportunity to compete in Italy and the whole team for helping me grow and improve in this sport.”

Troy Alberto confirmed to race in PSBK with Access Plus Racing-Okada Manila

There will be a third Alberto on the Philippine Superbike Championship (PSBK) grid this weekend. Access Plus Racing-Okada Manila has confirmed that Troy Alberto will join the team’s lineup alongside his father Toti and older brother Timothy Joseph “TJ” as the series returns from a near four month-long break.

While he sports the same purple-and-white colors of Okada Manila, Troy is set to contest Rounds 3 and 4 onboard a Honda CBR1000RR unlike TJ and Toti who are campaigning Ducati Panigale V4Rs. It has been over a year since his last competitive outing in the region and would have made his PSBK comeback a lot sooner if it weren’t for a shoulder injury that he sustained earlier this year. The 20-year-old is eager to deliver strong results at the Clark International Speedway (CIS) and add to the team’s tally of trophies and race wins in the Expert Class.

His older brother TJ, on the other hand, enjoyed a dominant start to the season. He scored a hat-trick back in June followed by a very memorable 2nd place in frantic photo finish battle with BMW’s Marvin Mangulabnan. Likewise, family patriarch Toti was unchallenged in the Masters Class and had a clean sweep of the top step of the podium during the season opener. Both have been busy improving the team’s Panigale V4R and are set to further assert their dominance in the championship.

Access Plus Racing

Tightening health protocols back in August forced PSBK organizers to move the original schedule to its new date in October. Qualifying will be held on the 1st October, followed by Races 1 and 2 on Saturday, and Races 3 and 4 on Sunday.

TJ Alberto: “I’m looking forward to this weekend’s races after nearly a four month break. The team has done a great job since our last outing in June to further improve on an already good bike and based on qualifying pace we’re confident we can repeat our success from the opening round. We currently have the points lead and the objective of Access Plus Racing-Okada Manila is to continue to increase the gap in the championship.”

Troy Alberto: “I’m so excited to be racing again this weekend. I haven’t raced in a year and a half and I also wasn’t able to race the last PSBK because of a shoulder injury. It’s going be a fun weekend getting back into it. After being on 250s and 600s since 2018, my aim is to improve as the weekend goes on and hope to see results at the end.”

Toti Alberto: “It brings me a lot of joy to be able to race alongside my sons once again and share our passion together. I’m confident that TJ and Troy are well capable of delivering strong results this weekend and looking forward to share this experience with them. But the family of Access Plus Racing-Okada Manila is more than just the three of us. Every single member of the team is part of our extended family and contributes to all our successes on track.”

Access Plus Racing-Okada Manila is sponsored by Okada Manila, Essenza, Macbeth, Öhlins Philippines, AELLA, Lv8, and Ducati Philippines.

Phoenix PULSE Young Drivers Program is offering a racing scholarship yet again

While there’s no shortage of talented drivers in the Philippines, sadly racing ain’t cheap which limits opportunities for some hopefuls. This is where Phoenix Petroleum, along with their partner Tuason Racing comes in. Through their ‘Phoenix PULSE Young Drivers’ Program’, they’re providing a racing scholarship to an aspiring racer to become the next racing superstar.

First launched in 2019, they hand-picked Raffy Rabe out of 300 applicants to become part of the Phoenix PULSE racing team. Through the program, he competed in a full season of the Giti-Formula V1 Challenge and was given an entry into the 4-Hour Formula V1 Endurance.

Following his success, the Phoenix PULSE Young Drivers’ Program is back and is again in search for the next racing champion.

“Phoenix Petroleum, along with our trusted partner, Tuason Racing, is glad to bring back this wonderful opportunity for racing hopefuls who possess a good balance of excellent racing skills and great attitude who can represent the brand, and inspire other young drivers to reach for their dreams,” said Phoenix Petroleum Vice President for Integrated Marketing and Strategies Celina Matias.

Phoenix Pulse Young Drivers Program

The racing scholarship is open to candidates that are between 15 to 29 years old and must have the following minimum requirements.

  • Should be a Filipino citizen or at least be of Filipino descent.
  • Needs a valid Drivers’ License with no serious offense.
  • Must be able to drive with a Manual Gearbox.
  • Must have at least one (1) year competitive racing experience.

However, please keep in mind that the Phoenix PULSE Young Drivers’ Program is designed for upcoming racing aspirants, so those with extensive experience and a grade license need not apply.

While they have yet to release details on the screening process, racing hopefuls can now sign up in this link: https://bit.ly/PhoenixYDP2021

Registration ends on August 23, 2021.

Phoenix PULSE Formula FV1 Virtual Cup returns for another season

0

After a successful inaugural season last year, the first homegrown eSports racing series is back to give aspiring drivers a virtual platform to pursue their passion for motorsports. Organized by Tuason Racing, the Phoenix PULSE Formula V1 Virtual Cup is once again taking the races online with a 3-round series that kicks off this August.

It is open to eSport drivers aged 14-years-old and above. Races will be held using the PC-based platform Assetto Corsa, competing on ‘Formula V1-inspired race cars’, under 2 different racing categories. The AM Class, as the name suggests, caters to aspiring drivers with no prior experience to sim racing. The PRO Class, on the other hand, is designed specifically for pro eSport racers who have an extensive experience in the virtual racing world.

As in the previous season, there are 3 events lined up in 2021 with points up for grabs at each round towards the championship. The event also promises ‘amazing prizes’ and a ‘one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be trained by Tuason Racing’, but they have yet to announce what exactly those prizes will be and what’s in store for the next FV1 Virtual Cup Champion.

Formula V1 Virtual Cup 2021

2021 Phoenix PULSE Formula V1 Virtual Cup Race Calendar Round 1 | August 14 Round 2 | October 2 Round 3 | November 20

Those who intend to enter can click on this link to register: https://bit.ly/FV1VirtualCup2021 You can also follow Tuason Racing’s Facebook page and Instagram @tuasonracing for more updates on the 2021 Phoenix PULSE Formula V1 Virtual Cup

Presented by Phoenix Fuels, powered by PLDT Home and backed by Limitless, Family Mart, and Apex Sim Racing, the Phoenix PULSE Formula V1 Virtual Cup is also backed by Ribbon Arc Motorsports, Gran Turismo Philippines, Sim Racing PH, Automobile Association Philippines, and Seven Star Garage. With media partners C! Magazine, Inquirer Mobility, Wheels Philippines, Time Attack Manila, AutoDeal, and Autocar Philippines.

Obengers Racing take home a dozen trophies from Vios Cup 2021 curtain raiser

It’s mission accomplished from the biggest team in this year’s Toyota GAZOO Racing Vios Cup. Between their 8 drivers, Obengers Racing ended up with 4 race victories and 8 podium finishes across 3 categories. All of these trophies were collected during the season opener at the Clark International Speedway (CIS) last July 16/17.

Obengers

Super Sporting Class Estefano Rivera lead the team’s charge by starting from pole in Race 1. Although a slow getaway dropped him down to P5, the reigning Formula V1 Champion clawed his way back up the standings to come out back on top. He would take Obengers Racing’s first win of the 2021 season on Friday afternoon with a 1.758 sec advantage. Marc Soong, on the other hand, managed a respectable 5th in class despite having very little seat time ahead of the race weekend.

Estefano lost ground in Race 2 the following morning, but was still quick enough to take 3rd across the line. Marc was only a few places behind with another strong 5th place.

What would have been another victory for Estefano, however, was swiftly taken away by the stewards. His #23 Vios OMR was deemed to be underweight after Race 3 and undid all his hard work. Marc later benefited from his misfortunes and snatched an unexpected 3rd place in the #77 ‘Make-A-Wish-Foundation’ entry.

Sporting Class It was a 3-way-battle between teammates Iñigo Anton, Julian Tang, and Joaquin ‘Wakkeen’ Garrido at the top of the Sporting Class. The youngsters exchanged positions in Race 1 with Iñigo coming out of top on his Vios Cup debut. Julian crossed the line 2.528 secs behind in 2nd with Wakkeen a further 8.310 secs adrift in 3rd, completing a full Obengers Racing podium. Miguel Quiñones was in close 4th to his teammates, while Elysse Menorca struggled with an ailing car that left her in a lowly 7th.

The trio exchanged places in Race 2 with another 1-2-3 finish for the team. This time tough it was Julian’s turn to take the top spot of the podium with a massive 9.699 sec lead ahead of Wakkeen. Iñigo put up a strong fight to his teammate and was inches away from Wakkeen’s rear bumper when the pair crossed the chequered flag. Miguel was running in P4 most of the race, but contact with another driver dropped him down to 6th. Sadly, Elysse’s woes continued to haunt her on Saturday with overheating issues forcing her into a DNF only 6 laps into the race.

Iñigo quickly proved that he had what it takes to fight with the big boys and rubbed elbows with the Super Sporting Class drivers in Race 3. He secured another race victory in the process with Julian joining him on the podium in 3rd. Miguel came close in 4th, while Wakkeen finished in 6th after an off-track excursion.

Obengers

Promotional Class Julia Delos Angeles had a memorable experience on her debut outing with a new team. Qualifying P4 in the Promotional Class, she fought hard to take 3rd in Race 1 earning her first-ever podium finish in the 3 seasons she has raced in the Vios Cup.

Although she missed out on the podium in the succeeding races, her on-track battles were valuable learning experiences that should help her improve in the next event. Julia completed Race 2 in 7th and was 6th in Race 3.

There’s going to be a long 2-month break before the Toyota GAZOO Racing Vios Cup resumes on the 10th/11th of September 2021.

Obengers Obengers

Cosco Oben, Obengers Team Owner: “I would like to congratulate all of our drivers, mechanics, coach Roland, and manager Pao for all the wins we got last weekend. Special mention to our sporting class driver Iñigo Anton for having such a phenomenal weekend on his first ever Vios Cup experience. I’m so proud of him not only because of his great racing talent but for being such a fine young boy with good moral values. He is a perfect fit to the kind of culture we are trying to promote in our team and in our group of dealerships. I see our 8 core values fully embodied by this boy and that honestly makes me very happy and proud that he is a part of Obengers. We are so happy and excited to be back in racing and on the podium! We will be better on the next leg for sure.”

Obengers Racing is sponsored by Centro Manufacturing, Peoples General Insurance, Standard Insurance, Stronghold Insurance, Toyota Financial Services, Commonwealth Insurance, Liquimoly, Winterpine, Powerstroke, Fedchem, Spark Up, FH Innovation, Sikkens, and Speedster.

The Oben Group dealers are composed of Toyota Balintawak, Toyota Otis, Toyota North EDSA, Toyota North EDSA Service Center-Mindanao Avenue, Toyota Marilao Bulacan, Toyota San Jose Del Monte Bulacan, Toyota Certified Used Vehicles-Balintawak, and Hino Balintawak.

[Photos by Jon Gonzales]

Obengers Obengers Obengers Obengers Obengers

Obengers Racing lineup for Vios Cup 2021 is team’s strongest entry to date

One of the most successful teams in the Toyota GAZOO Racing Vios Cup is marking the return of Philippine motorsports with a vengeance. Obengers Racing, who have won 2 out of the last 6 overall championships, is fielding not just the biggest but also the strongest lineup for the 2021 season with 8 very potent drivers all vying for their respective class titles.

Super Sporting Class Leading the way for the team is Estefano Rivera who’s making a comeback to Toyota Motor Philippines’ (TMP) one-make-series after missing out on the titles in ’15 and ’16. Although he stepped away from the series after those attempts, he has always stayed close to Obengers Racing and together won the Giti-Formula V1 Championship in ’19. This time though, he won’t be settling for second best.

With him in the top-tier class is Marc Soong again flying the colors of the ‘Make-A-Wish-Foundation’. This will be his fourth season with Obengers Racing, steadily finding improvements every year.

Sporting Class Obengers Racing will have the biggest entry list in the Sporting Class by far with their drivers taking 5 out of the 7 slots on the grid. They’ve moved both Julian Tang and Elysse Menorca up from the Promotional Class after the pair finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively in the championship last time around.

They will then be joined by the team’s new recruits Iñigo Anton, Christopher ‘Wakkeen” Garrido’, and Miguel Quiñones. Though still in their teens, the trio are already well-accomplished drivers in their own right. Iñigo takes after his multi-titled father Carlos Anton and has several endurance, slalom, and eSport titles under his name. Wakkeen, on the other hand, has been busy collecting championships in karting over the last 6 years and will finally make his touring car debut in the Vios OMR. Likewise, Miguel Quiñones has had a similar journey in karts and became Junior Karter of the Year at one point. After taking part in several tests with Formula 4 SEA, Formula V1, and Radical Sportscars, he has now made the right choice to enter in the Vios Cup with Obengers Racing.

Promotional Class Julia Delos Angeles is no stranger to the series competing in the ’17 and ’18 seasons. This time though she’s back with a fresh outlook and a new team that could take her to the championship. She will be Obengers Racing’s lone entry in the Promotional Class with hopes to repeating class title win of ’19 with Quattro Adriano.

Pao Agregado, Team Manager: “The team’s goal is really to nurture and develop drivers for Philippine motorsports. With the driver development program of Obengers Racing we’ve centered the team around finding young talent and we’re happy with what we saw with from our new drivers Wakkeen, Iñigo, Miggy, and Julia. We have a very positive outlook and even the pandemic cannot stop motorsports.”

Cosco Oben, Obengers Team Owner: “We’re very excited to be back racing after more than a year due to the pandemic. I see this as a good sign of better days ahead for the racing community and more importantly our industry and Toyota. We will be fielding our biggest roster of drivers in our racing history composed of 8 young talented and driven racers. I can’t wait to see them all on the podium this weekend. Of course putting up this big team during this challenging time wouldnt be possible without the help and support of our team co-principal Richie Uy, manager Pao Agregado, coach Roland Hermoso and our ever supportive sponsors who’s been behind us since day one.”

Obengers Racing is sponsored by Centro Manufacturing, Peoples General Insurance, Standard Insurance, Stronghold Insurance, Toyota Financial Services, Commonwealth Insurance, Liquimoly, Winterpine, Powerstroke, Fedchem, Spark Up, FH Innovation, Sikkens, and Speedster.

The Oben Group dealers are composed of Toyota Balintawak, Toyota Otis, Toyota North EDSA, Toyota North EDSA Service Center-Mindanao Avenue, Toyota Marilao Bulacan, Toyota San Jose Del Monte Bulacan, Toyota Certified Used Vehicles-Balintawak, and Hino Balintawak.

24 entries confirmed for Toyota GAZOO Racing Vios Cup 2021 season opener

This is the comeback we’ve all been waiting for. After the long break (no thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic that canned the 2020 season), Toyota Motor Philippines is finally ready to go racing again. Their one-make-series is set to kick off its 7th season this weekend with 24 entries confirmed for the Toyota GAZOO Racing Vios Cup’s first event.

As in previous years, there will be an Autocross Challenge to fill in the gaps between the festivities. But what we’re really interested in is the main Circuit Championship that utilizes the full 4.189 km Clark International Speedway (CIS).

New for 2021 is the return of the top-tier Super Sporting Class reserved for the most experienced and most capable drivers on the grid. These ‘modified’ Vios OMRs are supposed to be ‘substantially quicker’ than the rest of the field and can be distinguished via their faux fiberglass headlights. A total of 6 cars will be ready for the season opener with JBT Racing, Obengers Racing, and Toyota Dagupan entering 2 entries each. Red Diwa of JBT Racing, who happens to be the reigning Sporting Class Champion, should be the man to beat as he aims to repeat his success this year.

The Sporting Class, on the other hand, consists mostly of promising young drivers that should guarantee a lot of waku-doki action on track. Series newcomers Joaquin Garrido, Jacob Ang, Iñigo Anton, and Miguel Quiñones are all still in their teens but are already well-accomplished drivers in karting and cars. They will then be joined by Julian Tang, Elysse Menorca, and Darrel Garbes who finished 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively in the Promotional Class championship of 2019.

Bringing up the rear are the Promotional Class runners that are 11 cars strong for the curtain raiser. For some reason, they’ve now ditched the Celebrity Class entirely hence the likes Fabio Ide, Daniel Matsunaga, and Troy Montero will all now be lumped together in this category.

Noticeably missing from the list is the entire quad from Toyota Team Cebu (TTC) with good reason. As we found out, our friends from the Queen City of the South have opted to sit this one out as they wait to be fully vaccinated but should make it in time for the next event.

Vios Cup 2021

The first leg of the Toyota GAZOO Racing Vios Cup 2021 takes place this July 9/10 followed by succeeding events on September 10/11 and November 5/6. Sadly, this weekend will be a strictly closed-door affair with no public spectators due to safety protocols. What’s good though is that the races on Saturday will be livestreamed via Toyota Motor Philippines and Toyota GAZOO Racing PH on Facebook.

The Toyota GAZOO Racing Vios Cup 2021 is organized in cooperation with Bridgestone, official fuel partner Petron, supported by Motul. Other sponsors are Brembo, Denso, AVT, 3M, OMP, Tuason Racing, and ROTA.