The goal of the AAP’s Motorsport Development Program (MSDP) is to train, develop, and discover future young racing champions in the Philippines, with an emphasis on the ‘young’ aspect. That’s why its finalists have always been limited to 16 to 19 year olds, preventing more senior drivers from getting in. But that’s about to change in 2019 as the program opens itself up to more talent.
Over the last 2 seasons, the MSDP has entered a Mazda 2 SkyActiv in the 8 Oras ng Pilipinas driven by finalists of the grassroots program of that year. The team would come 24th overall in 2017, improving the following year to cross the line in 19th place. While it has proven to be successful, the MSDP now turns to its National Gymkhana Series to find its next set of drivers for the country’s most prestigious endurance race.
“We’ve always picked from our MSDP finalists to race in the 8 Oras ng Pilipinas. These are young, passionate, and determined drivers who have good support from their families,” explained MSDP Instructor Ivan Isada. “However, in doing so we’ve been missing out on other drivers outside that demographic who also have potential to be good racers.”
The MSDP National Gymkhana Series will host 4 competition legs per region in Metro Manila, Cebu, Iloilo, Cagayan De Oro, and Davao. The top drivers then earn an invite to the National Gymkhana Finals at the end of the year where they face off to see who’s the fastest driver in the Philippines. Whoever lands in the Top 6 spots during the elimination round earns a seat in the MSDP team to race its trusty Mazda 2 SkyActiv race car in the Philippine Endurance Challenge (PEC).
10-time National Rally Champion and MSDP Lead Instructor Vip Isada also cites maturity and safety as a justification to changing the selection process.
“Since one of the main objective of the MSDP is to develop motorsport, we are now envisioning to give a bigger avenue for deserving drivers, to get them into the mainstream of motorsport. We are not limiting it anymore to the 16 to 19 years olds,” said Vip Isada.
With this rule change, the stakes in the MSDP National Gymkhana Series are definitely higher this year with a bonus race waiting the finalists at the end of the 2019 season.
Click the link for the full AAP Motorsport Development Program 2019 Calendar.