11-year-old Axel Nocom thrilled with class podiums at Autocross debut

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He’s not even old enough to get a driver’s license, but 11-year-old Axel Nocom is already raising some eyebrows in the local motorsports community. Driving a mildly-tuned Honda Civic FD with an automatic transmission, this youngster has beaten competitors more than 3x his age at regular track days (which not everyone was happy about as you’d imagine). So for 2023, he has his eyes set on a new challenge to give auto crossers a run for their money.

The opening round of the Philippine Autocross Championship Series (PACS) last 28th of January was also his very first time at this kind of event. And to give him additional practice runs around the course, his dad entered him in four categories to give him a total of eight official runs around the R33 Drift Track in Pampanga.

Funnily enough, it would have been five categories except that the class for automatics was cancelled as he was the only driver who showed up with an automatic transmission. And he drives an auto slushbox not because he can’t drive stick (which he actually can), but because as a karter he’s more accustomed to braking with his left.

Axel didn’t stand a chance up against the pro drivers in Novice Modified B and was 11th on the time sheets. It was a similar story in the All Honda Class, though he was still classified 3rd as there were only three entires. Interestingly, he came out 2nd in the Front Wheel Drive Class and was about 10 secs faster than the driver in 3rd.

What’s really impressive is Axel’s performance in the Beginners Class, which was the category he intended to enter in the first place. The competition was quite close even if they were all rookies with the total times of the top three runners being separated by only 2.48 secs. In the end, Axel would claim an impressive 2nd place in a group filled with much older competitors.

But the exercise was not all about winning. Supported by his dad Mike Nocom, Axel was there simply to have fun. The 3x MiniRok karting and sim racing champion finds enjoyment in all types of motorsport discipline, be it on two wheels, four wheels, or even if it’s online. And what makes it interesting for the youngster is the experience of learning from other drivers and improving on his craft.

As long as his schedule permits, Axel plans to join PACS again at its next event in February.

[Photos by RacersPh]