A pair of emerging young Filipino talents are taking a big leap in 2023. Vito Nazal and Melwin Tan, who spent several years in karting, have confirmed plans of moving up to single-seaters in the not so distant future. And to kick start their journey, the pair recently joined a one-day test at the Clark International Speedway (CIS) to get a taste what it’s like in the driver’s seat.
Vito first got into motorsports at the age of 6. His experience mostly revolved around the Sodi World Series, which is a global go-karting championship. The event allow drivers from around the world to compete on equal machinery where Vito enjoyed several race wins. He then signed with Mercedes Young Driver Development Philippines a few years ago to race in the national karting series, but plans were put on indefinite hold due to the pandemic.
Melwin, on the other hand, took a slightly different approach. He started in Cadets when he was 12 and achieved moderate success with several podium finishes. His stint in MiniRok yielded even better results as he competed in both local and international races such as in Malaysia, China, and Macau. But because of the pandemic, he had to sit out a few years and by the time he returned in 2021 was already old enough for the Senior Class, skipping Juniors completely.
Now both 17-years-old, they’re making a comeback to motorsports in a big way.
The pair shared one car during a single day of testing at CIS. The Tatuus FA010 they drove was the exact same chassis driven by Zach David years before he moved up to Formula 4, which comes equipped with a 1.4L Fiat turbocharged engine with a 6-speed sequential box. Vito and Melwin took turns at every session to get a feel how a single-seater drives, cope with the higher G forces, and learn how to drive with aero.
Improving on lap time, however, was not part of the curriculum. The goal was to simply to familiarize themselves with the new machinery before they race overseas.
Vito and Melwin shared that they already have plans to continue testing in Europe in the coming months. There they’ll be able to drive a more current chassis and on bigger tracks that are part of the Italian Formula 4 calendar. With a full racing team behind them, the two Filipino drivers should also pick up the pace quicker as they benchmark their times (and data) against the best drivers in the series.
If all goes to plan, we should see the two line up on the grid sometime in late 2023 or early 2024.