While other ‘regular’ dads take their kids to the track or go karting, Rei Aleman and Mike Hortel raced at the Petron x 4 Oras ng Pilipinas last June 12 and actually shared driving duties with their sons. Both run by Team Cebu x M&M x MR Auto, Rei and 10-year-old Seven Aleman entered the #16 Honda Civic EG in FM-1 and FM-2, while Mike and 16-year-old Miguel Hortel competed in FM-3 with their #19 Toyota Yaris.
The father-son duo of Rei and Seven are no strangers when it comes to motorsports. Dad is a long-time drag racer, karter, and finished the 8 Oras ng Pilipinas twice on previous occasions. Seven, on the other hand, has been karting since he was 4 and graduated into circuit racing this year.
Seven started the rain-soaked 4 hour race from P17, but immediately hit trouble. The wiper failed and took 15 mins to repair in the garage. Despite losing time, he bravely soldiered on with dad sitting in the passenger seat throughout the 2 hour stint. Rei then took over and made up lost ground. He would overtake 3 cars in the process and crossed the finish line 6th in FM-1 and 4th in FM-2.
Rei and Seven completed 70 laps in total, just 2 laps shy of the 3rd place finisher. They could have easily been 2nd or 3rd if it weren’t for the broken wiper. Impressively, Seven’s best lap of 2:42.856 around the Clark International Speedway was about 2 secs faster than his dad’s.
“Racing in the 4 Oras ng Pilipinas with Seven was the best bonding experience in the world,” commented Rei. “Ever since our karting days with our friend John Velasco, it has always been a family sport for us. I’m happy that I’m able to teach Seven on how to be a good sportsman and a gentleman on and off the track.”
In contrast, this was Mike and his son Miguel’s very first grid outing. The older Hortel got his passion for motorsports from his friend Enzo Pastor during their younger days. But as he was unable to race back then, he supported Enzo’s races as a team member instead. Miguel also only began his circuit training this year in the FlatOut Race Series.
Together, they qualified P19 and managed to work their up to 17th overall after the first hour. But being first timers, their only strategy was to run at their own pace, finish, and enjoy the experience.
Mike and Miguel were both nervous and excited on race day. They had no grid or wet weather racing experience, and had a fair share of spinouts, aquaplanes, and near-misses. However, sheer determination kept them going. And after a driver change and fuel stop, the father-son tandem eventually took the chequered flag with 2nd place in FM-3.
“Miguel and I came here to enjoy and have fun with no expectations, so finishing 2nd was just icing on the cake. I’m glad we share the same passion for motorsports and as a father, it’s a very fulfilling experience to race with him. It allowed us to bond, support, and understand each other,” said Mike.
With its 2-car entry, Team Cebu x M&M x MR Auto took home 3rd overall in the Team Classification.
Mark Laxa, Team Coach: “I’m happy and proud of both Miguel and Seven. While our game plan was only to finish, 2nd in FM-3 and 3rd team overall is a good result for us considering its their first time in PEC. Hope to see more from these 2 young guns.”
Jun Cabrera, Team Manager: “It was a very exciting experience to be a team manager as I was constantly worrying about our drivers and cars while they’re were on track. But what made it really memorable was that my son Russel served as my assistant. He was very attentive and diligent. I’m very happy that we were able to work together as a team.”
John Velsaco, Team Principal: “You hit 2 birds with 1 stone by going racing with your son. I’m very happy that Rei and Seven, Mike and Miguel, as well as Jun and Russel are able to enjoy their 4 Oras ng Pilipinas. It’s the same joy I get whenever my son Sean races in the Toyota Vios Cup.”
Team Cebu x M&M x MR Auto is supported by Team Cebu, M&Ms Motorsport, Solane, Carbon 101, Wax Daddy Detailing, MR Auto Parts & Shop, Motul, OOH Media Corporation, Doublegem Beach Resort El Nido, SQM.com.ph, Trickshot, Hazardboy Performance Parts, Hardrace Philippines, and D1 Spec.
[Photos by Nickey Bautista]