Jody Coseteng returns to the 2014 Philippine GT Championship

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The 2014 season of the Philippine GT Championship began last June. And to everyone’s surprise, defending GT300 champion Jody Coseteng was nowhere to be found. But now, he’s back and you’ve guess it, he’s winning again.

Apparently, Jody was supposed to take a break this year. But like a true sportsman, he needed to get back behind the wheel to scratch the old itch. So there he was at the Clark International Speedway (CIS) with his black and white Mitsubishi Evolution VIII last August 31 to race in Round 3.

We really don’t think he came back to chase after Dondon Portugal’s championship lead. Instead, we’d like to believe that he’s here to show the boys a lesson or two.

Philippine GT

True enough, Jody qualified on pole, lapping 1.404 seconds quicker than Dondon Portugal in 2nd. Meanwhile, GT200 drivers Carlos Anton, Joey Pery, and Paolo Mantolino filled up the 3rd, 4th and 5th spots on the 18-car grid.

Jody pretty much lead from pole all the way to the chequered flag in the morning’s 9-lap Sprint Race. Unfortunately, Portugal was disqualified due to a technical infringement, while actor Jomari Yllana suffered a DNF… yet again. It would have been a nice battle in GT 300 if only Veli-Matti Kaikkonen showed up.

Philippine GT

In GT200, Carlos Anton in the blue Honda Civic finished 5.544 seconds ahead of Joey Pery in the white Honda Integra DC5, followed by William Tan and Paolo Mantolino. Richmon Dela Rosa, Allen Macaraig, and Dindo de Jesus then took 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places in GT150, while Ivan Diaz won in GT100.

Due to his consistent performance (and attendance), Dondon Portugal still leads the GT300 standings with 150 points. Jody Coseteng, on the other hand, is in 2nd place with 60 points. As for GT200, Paolo Mantolino holds a slim 14 point lead ahead of 2010 PTCC champion Joey Pery and Carlos Anton. Sadly, Joel Portugal lost his lead in GT150 after a no show in Round 3. This means Richmon dela Rosa inherits top spot with 128 points despite wrecking his old car in Round 1. Finally, Edwin Rodriguez in his Mazda Philippines-backed Mazda 2 is looking good to win the GT100 title with 165 points – 68 points clear of his nearest rival.

Philippine GT

The 2014 Yokohama Philippine GT Championship returns to the Clark International Speedway (CIS) for Round 4 on September 28.

[Photos by EZ Ligaya and Alec Mendez]

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Ozawa JDM does Japan – Part 1

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JDM A very loose acronym within the car community; something that has become synonymous to cool, unique, and desirable. It has ultimately become a trend and subculture around the world, but in reality, at the very core, JDM simply stands for Japanese Domestic Market.

Here at Ozawa JDM, our goal is to relate and share the car culture we all love. We want to extend our reach not only to our fellow brothers and sisters behind the wheel, but also to those who have not yet been fully immersed in our amazing community. We want to show them what makes this scene of ours exciting and special, and why it sometimes takes over every aspect of our lives.

That’s why we made a video, starring Mark Bernardo and yours truly, to give you a glimpse as to why some of us find JDM so fascinating, and why it effortlessly turns us into fanatics. We want to give you a chance to experience Japan as a country, a culture, and as a motoring heaven.

Follow us through our adventures in Japan!

Get the latest updates and antics of Ozawa JDM by liking the Ozawa JDM Facebook page.

Globe Slipstream: A celebration of speed with Marlon Stockinger

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Globe Telecom partnered with Lotus F1 to bring us car crazy Pinoys a show on a ‘street circuit’. This was to the chagrin of many frustrated pedestrians, but we loved it! After all, it was our turn to stop traffic to celebrate our very own Lotus F1 Junior Team driver Marlon Stockinger.

This year, they did it in Bonifacio Global City, the sweet urban development that gives Metro Manila a little taste of the First World with significantly nicer planning and roads. I wanted to hear the screaming engine echo off all those nice buildings and decided it was imperative to witness the spectacle.

Globe Slipstream

I knew Marlon was going to speed around in all that open wheel glory—a Formula Renault 3.5.

By the way, in the wake of all the speculation, let’s elucidate the fact that his current competition car is in fact a V8, but the one he used for that demo was the older V6. Well, I got more than I bargained for. What I didn’t know was that Globe was going to let a whole bunch of other people parade their machines around the same course.

Globe Slipstream

There weren’t just automobiles. A whole load of guys from Ducati Philippines showed up decked out in their knightly leathers. The flavor of the day was the Pani-golly; then there were the couple of Ducati Superleggeras—extremely exclusive, extremely limited, extremely expensive, and bragging more weight loss than the Panigale R that they’re based on. Even go kart racers got to have a go on the course. They must have had some of the most fun; with them hugging the ground so close, the buildings must have seemed like skyscrapers in distorted scale. To make things even more well rounded was the participation of the Philippine DTM Revival. They haven’t slowed down one bit!

Globe Slipstream

There was a good turnout of sports cars and some prime examples of Italian supercar exotica. A bunch of them hailed from the Southside Sports Car Club and as usual, the 458 Italia made the driver types bite their lower lips and people’s jaws dropped at the rare sight of the Sci-Fi styled Lamborghini Aventador. Have you seen Godzilla (2014)? Remember the M.U.T.O. kaiju from that movie? That’s what came to my mind, and that way I can at least cease referring to it as a space roach.

The classic cars melted my heart, as usual. I am so predictable that way. I swooned at the Manila Sports Car Club’s Jaguar E-Type and Opel GT. I remembered that Michel Seven from the historic races, and that may have been my first time seeing that particular yellow Alfa Romeo Spider. The Morgan 3 Wheeler isn’t technically vintage, but it certainly has the feel. Marlon actually took shotgun for one of its runs!

Globe Slipstream

All in all, it was a swell event! ‘Twas a true day for true car folk, with no annoying Top 40 music blaring, no host prattling on speakers, no silly models obstructing views, and no unnecessary frivolities detracting from the gorgeous machinery. I realize that this may be because I was at the participants’ pits all day, so I can’t speak for the other areas; I enjoyed myself greatly from where I was.

Well done, everyone, and THANK YOU! That was proper stuff.

Globe Slipstream Globe SlipstreamGlobe SlipstreamGlobe SlipstreamView Full Gallery

The Black Monster: Toyota Team Europe’s secret 222D Group S rally car

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Back in the late ’80s, Toyota designed a sports car that could easily tame the worst roads you could throw at it… and more. Built during the heyday of Group B rallying, it was simply called the 222D, otherwise known as ‘The Black Monster’.

The 222D was developed by Toyota Team Europe (TTE) in 1985 and was loosely based on the first-generation Toyota MR2 (AW11). It was built to the newer Group S specification (which was basically Group B), but with power limited to 300 hp and more emphasis on innovation in areas like suspension, aerodynamics, and weight reduction. A rumored prototype developing around 750 hp built to Group B specification was also said to have been built.

Toyota 222D

Sadly, Group B together with the proposed Group S, were cancelled due to safety concerns in 1986. Thus, the ultimate version of this little sportscar never got to see actual competition. Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG), however, recently released an awesome set of photos of their own 222D for us to enjoy and wonder about what could have been.

Based on pictures, it seems that it uses the AW11’s center monocoque with a tube frame chassis front and rear. Body panels are likely some combination of steel, fiberglass, and carbon fiber resulting in a race-ready-weight of around 750 kg. That’s very impressive considering a stock AW11 MR2 weighs around 1,100 kg without all the extensive roll cage and race car hardware.

Painted black on black wheels, with styling driven purely by function, the 222D looks badass. Dare I say, it would be Darth Vader’s weapon of choice if he were a rallyist.

Toyota 222D

The interior is all business, with an array of gauges, switches, and computers, labelled with nostalgic Dymotape for those who remember what they are. It even has a real manual transmission – one with a clutch and an H-pattern shifter. Meanwhile, the lever beside it allows for adjustment of the anti-roll bars on the fly.

TTE during that time was notoriously secretive. We’re talking about guys who once got banned from competition, because they concealed a mechanism that bypassed a mandatory air restrictor. It seems reasonable then, that exactly what engine and how much power the 222D be kept a secret too.

This 222D, however, is powered by what seems to be a 503E race engine, based on the Toyota 3S-G platform, with full time 4WD. The 4T-GTE, a homologation engine from Toyota’s previous rally efforts was also reported to have been used.

TTE’s 222D Group S rally car is a feat of engineering. But with the demise of Group B, the level of innovation and insane power of vehicles such as this will be something that we will likely never see again.

[Photos courtesy of Toyota Motorsport GmbH]

Toyota 222D

Toyota 222D

Toyota 222D

Toyota 222D

Toyota 222D

Circuit Showdown vows to continue track day series despite tragedy

The future of Circuit Showdown, the country’s largest and fastest growing track day series, has been in question since it tragically lost its founder Enzo Pastor last June 2014. But thankfully, we have confirmation that Circuit Showdown is here to stay.

You see, Circuit Showdown was the brainchild of Enzo and his wife Dalia, who for the past 5 years, have been nurturing the grassroots of Philippine motorsports. Things, however, have been a bit rocky over the past few weeks. Without getting too much into the details, it seems that the Circuit Showdown family might lose yet another member if the allegations are true.

But even so, the remaining family members Enzo left behind has vowed to continue what he started in his memory. Read Circuit Showdown’s Official Statement below:

“Circuit Showdown is a race series created FOR THE RACER, BY RACERS.

Enzo, Dalia, Edward, Marc, Jay, and the rest of the Circuit Showdown Team envisioned a grassroots series that would bring out the potential in all who joined… giving everyone a venue to showcase their talents, whether as a driver, mechanic, or manager.

From humble beginnings of roughly 20 participants, we have grown to be a big national family with brothers and sisters coming from all corners of the Philippines. The organizers and participants as one, make this series the premier grassroots racing event in our country.

We owe it to you all to continue this noble cause that has brought so much joy to so many!

We would like to thank everyone who stuck with us through thick and thin.

All your questions regarding the current situation will be addressed and answered at the appropriate time by the proper authorities. During these trying times, we want to show our appreciation for the solidarity of our CIRCUIT SHOWDOWN FAMILY! We assure everyone that WE WILL CONTINUE. WE WILL GROW. And we are all about the RACING.

Be Good, have Fun and Enjoy Racing!”

See you at Round 7 of the 2014 BMC Air Filter Circuit Showdown this September 13 at the Batangas Racing Circuit (BRC).

Do note that this Special Leg will have no grid races. Instead, the morning session will use the short track, while the afternoon session will be run on the long track. The best time for each track layout will then be summed up to yield each competitor’s fastest lap of the day.

Circuit Showdown is sponsored by BMC Air Filters, GT Radial Tires, Mitasu Oil Japan, Staging Lanes Las Piñas, A1 Advertising, Aguila Autoglass, Rota Wheels, Skunk2 Racing, Exedy Performance Clutches, HANS, Richmond Auto Parts, Brembo Brakes, Sabelt, Spy Eye Wear, Philgerma, Foil A Car Manila, Aero Med, Walter Lights and Sounds, C! Magazine, and Driven & Refresh car fresheners.

XCAR explores a quarter century of fun with the Mazda Miata

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The Mazda MX-5 (otherwise known as the Miata) has been around with us for quite a while – 25 years, in fact. In that time, it’s gained a few pounds and grown in size, but underneath, there’s still that tiny roadster from Hiroshima the world fell in love with in 1989.

XCAR Films shows us a glimpse of the MX-5’s history, to see what makes it “the world’s favorite sports car.” While many decry the Miata for its lack of power and its image as a hairdresser’s car, it’s also credited with revitalizing the small sports car market, and has been popular with both amateur and professional racing drivers for decades.

With this video, it’s not hard to see why – “the beauty of the MX-5 is its balance,” and what it brings to the table is “performance anyone can enjoy.”

The MX-5 has changed significantly in the past quarter century, but the overall formula remains the same. As the evolution continues, one can be certain that the jinba-ittai philosophy the Miata so exemplifies will live on.

The epic Tänaybürgring 2014 was epic indeed

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The year-long wait for one of the country’s most amazing drive finally arrived last July 27, 2014. And days after the 2014 Epic Tanay Matsuri, there’s still much discussion about what transpired during the event.

Organized by Team A, the Matsuri (Japanese for “festival”) began at 6 ‘o clock in the morning at the Shell station along Marcos Highway. Over 70 cars of all sorts were in attendance, from family SUVs to modified performance cars. As the 7:00 AM takeoff time drew nearer, the parking area was nearly full.

A quick driver’s briefing was held before leaving, with the organizers reminding everyone that the event was not a street race, and there was no reward for finishing first. There was, however, a “Spirit of the Tänaybürgring Award” to be given at the end.

Tanayburgring 2014

What sets the Tänaybürgring apart from a typical weekend drive is the distance covered – this year’s route comes in at around 200 km from start to finish. The entire day was spent driving through a mix of mountain roads, farmlands, and small rural towns.

The first stop was at a cliffside overlook in the Sierra Madre mountains, allowing drivers to catch their breath as their cars cooled down. Keeping cars cool is important on any long drive, but much more so in the Tänaybürgring, which has been described as being more like an endurance rally than simple road trip.

As one of the event’s goals was to raise support for the Open Heart Foundation, the organizers announced over lunch that they were selling t-shirts of their own design, with proceeds going to the charity.

Tanayburgring 2014

While there were a few veterans of the event, it was the first time running the ‘Ring for many. “As a newcomer, I felt really intimidated to run at the beginning,” says one. “But as soon as we started ascending the mountains, I was feeling more comfortable, because I was running with other people who share the same passion for driving.”

Even after the halfway point, there was no signs of the fun stopping. The group of cars climbing up the road to Lake Caliraya was sure to have startled many of the area’s population; no doubt used to the quiet, peaceful life of the countryside.

Some, like Alberto Quiroz in his red MR2, chose to extend the route even further, going through Tagaytay on the way to the finish line. Others, trying to avoid traffic in Los Baños, headed towards San Pablo through the town of Majayjay, which was hit quite hard during the recent typhoon.

Tanayburgring 2014

By 4:30 PM, most had arrived at the finish in Nuvali, Santa Rosa, Laguna. Many were exhausted, but glad to have finished. At the debriefing, the Spirit of the Tänaybürgring award was given to Aurick Go, driving a gray Subaru WRX. A special Tänaybürgring sticker was given exclusively to those who finish the long, grueling drive.

“We hope the Tanay Matsuri will be the legacy we leave to the next generation of car enthusiasts,” say Team A. “We can’t wait for next year!”

The 2014 Epic Tanay Matsuri was organized by Team A and Ozawa JDM, in partnership with the Open Heart Foundation.

[Photos by author and Jenna V Genio]

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Tänaybürgring 2014 celebrates another year of driving pleasure

This year’s edition of the Epic Tanay Matsuri is soon coming up, to be held on the 27th of July, 2014. Popularly known as the Tänaybürgring, the event promises automotive bliss with a tour of some the country’s most amazing roads.

Organized by local auto enthusiast group Team A, the event is traditionally held on the last Sunday of July. The first event was held in 2011 and was conceived as a friendship-building experience with other like-minded enthusiasts. It was so well received that it was brought back 2 years later. The 2013 event, the first to carry the Tänaybürgring name, was heavily promoted and had over 50 cars in attendance.

Starting along the Marcos Highway, the route will take drivers from Antipolo to Tanay, Lake Caliraya, Los Baños and Calamba before ending at Nuvali in Santa Rosa; looping all of Laguna de Bay on the way and covering about 200 km. A scouting run was even undertaken to mark out turns and important landmarks to prevent participants from getting lost, as well as obstructions and potential hazards like construction sites.

According to Team A,

“the event is not a street race, but a yearly celebration of driving pleasure. There are no requirements to join – anyone can come and join the fun.”

In the interest of safety, the organizers advise against overtaking on blind corners and other dangerous maneuvers. As stated in the event’s official guidelines, “we won’t stop you from driving fast, but it is up to you to know your limits and the consequences of exceeding them.”

“I see that the car community is self serving,” says event organizer Iori Suzuki. “Nobody outside the car culture benefits from our fast cars. When Typhoon Yolanda struck last year, I contacted fellow enthusiasts to help and we were able to raise 2 trucks’ worth of donations. This time around we wanted to make it a regular thing to help communities big or small, and we’re glad to work with the Open Heart Foundation.”

This year’s event starts at 6:00 AM, July 27, 2014 at the Shell Gas Station along Marcos Highway.

For more details, Like the Tänaybürgring Facebook page. You may also check out the event guidelines by hitting the link.

The 2014 Epic Tanay Matsuri is organized by Team A and Ozawa JDM, in partnership with the Open Heart Foundation.

Racing historics with the Manila Sports Car Club

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The Manila Sports Car Club (MSCC) kicked off their 2014 season with a slew of grid races for Modern Sports Cars, the Philippine DTM Revival, and the Miata Cup… But the rarest gems to be seen on the track were definitely the participants of the Historic Races.

In case you missed it, here’s a video by Steven Flor documenting those coveted automobiles that fateful day. This is the proof you need that these car guys don’t shelter their vintage rides, but drive them hard and get pretty close on the track—with the bonus of peppy editing cues and awesome slow motion.

“I made the video because there are two things I’m really passionate about: racing and filmmaking. To be able to capture and share spirited racing is really fulfilling for me. I enjoy the company of the MSCC members. They’re a close-knit family and I’m glad to be a part of it. To be able to capture moments with them in the pits and while racing is truly a joy and a privilege. And, of course, I enjoy admiring the beautiful race cars up close when shooting them for each race day video.”—Steven Flor.

I’m just glad that it’s efforts like this that give people records to cherish throughout their lives and to pass on to their families, children, loved ones, and perhaps the budding automotive enthusiasts of our nation’s future.

Enjoy Steven’s latest work below.

Subaru releases Mark Higgins’ record-breaking Isle of Man lap

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Remember when, in early June 2014, Mark Higgins broke the production car lap record of the Isle of Man TT Course in an all-new 2015 WRX STI? Well, Subaru has finally released the full 19 minute 26 second lap so you can now ride shotgun with Mark.

Aside from the HD in-car footage around the notorious 60.8 km course, the video also includes a corner-by-corner commentary from Mark Higgins himself, explaining every gear change, throttle position, steering input, and where the bumps on the road are. And with the speed limiter removed, you can watch Mark hit 166 mph (267.15 km/h) on the straights.

It’s hard to imagine that the Subaru WRX STI he drove is mostly ‘stock’, but it takes someone as talented as Mark to make it dance like that around the Isle of Man.

What I learned from racing in the Toyota Vios Cup

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In the years I’ve spent covering races, I believe that the main reason why drivers race is to win. And thanks to Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP), I got to experience what it was like to feel that insatiable desire to cross the finish line in 1st.

I was one of the lucky few who got invited to the Toyota Racing School back in April. There, they allowed me to hoon one of their prized Vios Cup cars around the Clark International Speedway for about half a day. Little did I know that these guys were already scouting for recruits from the media for the upcoming Toyota Vios Cup 2014. And judging by the invite letter I got from TMP a few days later, I could safely say that they liked my driving.

Yes, I was given shot at becoming a real race car driver for a weekend.

Vios Cup

Obviously, we had to go through a bit more training before race day. So, we found ourselves back on track for Advance Circuit Class lessons to get us up to speed. And with the school’s approval, we were allowed to apply for a racing license from the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP).

We were also issued a helmet, a balaclava to match, racing gloves, racing shoes, and a full homologated racing suit from OMP, which helped us feel like we’re the real deal. Best part of all, it was ours to keep.

Vios Cup

But unlike the ‘exhibition race’ in January, the race last May 24 had a 30-car-grid packed with drivers who all wanted to win – 19 of which were from customer teams. Sure, we had the full 4.189 km track to play with, but you do you have to remember that there’s only 1 racing line. To make matters worse, I drove one of the school cars and like the other media and celebrity drivers, was given strict instructions to bring it back in 1 piece.

Although I knew I wasn’t the quickest, I didn’t come all this way to be a backmarker. I came here to race. I came here to win.

Vios Cup

Wanting to win and having a real shot at winning, however, were 2 very different things. In practice, my lap times were 3.7 secs off the pace from the leaders, but was otherwise 13th quickest overall. Not bad, but I still had a long way to go. Thankfully, coaches Miguel Ramirez and Tyson Sy were at hand to give us some pointers. I even snuck inside Toyota Dagupan’s garage to get some tips from the late Enzo Pastor.

All that coaching would eventually pay off and allowed me to qualify in 14th, 1 place behind celebrity Phoemela Beranda and more importantly, ahead of all the other media drivers.

Now all I had to do was to last both 12-lap races and try to get past as many cars as I could… if only it was that simple.

Vios Cup

Averaging 2 min 30 sec per lap, we were easily spending 30 minutes on track every race. And in those 30 agonizing minutes, we had to deal with the scorching heat, take the pressure from other drivers, and drown out whatever fears we had in our mind. But I always remembered what Enzo told me, that race car drivers believed that they’re the best, because it’s only when you have that mindset can you fight to win.

So I only managed 12th overall in both races, but it was a race I fought hard for. I had a few near-misses, overtook a few cars, and had a great battle with drivers such as Ton Ramos, Phoemela, and fellow media driver Anjo Perez. TMP also awarded me as the ‘media category champion’ and a plaque to go with it.

But the greatest prize I got from racing in the Vios Cup was to feel first hand that insatiable desire to win. Because aside from the adrenaline rush and speed, it’s this sensation that keeps race car drivers coming back for more. And it’s only when you forget about your fears and the dangers of the sport can you go for that gap.

Yes, motorsports has its risks, but it’s a risk we’re all willing to take to get to top step of the podium.

Vios Cup Vios Cup [Photos by EZ Ligaya]

‘Til Ford began using ketchup to build cars

How would you like to drive a car that’s built out of parts made from Heinz Tomato Ketchup? Well… you might just in a few years because Ford and the H.J. Heinz Company are now working together to develop a bio-plastic material for cars.

Apparently, the process of making tomato ketchup produces quite a lot of waste; 2 million tons annually to be exact. In Heinz’s case, this waste comes in the form of tomato skins, stems, and seeds. So, someone in the company came up with the brilliant idea of turning them into car parts instead of throwing them in the bin. That’s when they turned to Ford.

After some R&D, the great minds from both companies have figured that these these dried tomato skins could somehow be processed into sustainable, and probably recyclable composite materials. What this does is it lowers the environmental impact of producing new parts as compared to petroleum-based plastics that they currently use.

They’re thinking of using the new material for wiring brackets and interior storage bins to hold small coins or other doodads. Yummy… But before they push it for production, they still need to test the material’s durability of course.

“We are exploring whether this food processing byproduct makes sense for an automotive application,” said Ellen Lee, plastics research technical specialist for Ford. “Our goal is to develop a strong, lightweight material that meets our vehicle requirements, while at the same time reducing our overall environmental impact.”

The good guys at Ford (and H.J. Heinz) are obviously green-minded people and have made a substantial effort to lessen their environmental footprint. Aside from plastic parts made out tomatoes, Ford also uses rice hulls for cowl brackets, coconuts for composites, recycled cotton material for carpeting and seat fabrics, and soy foam for seat cushions and head restraints.

Perhaps there will come a time when you can munch on car parts when you get hungry on the road.

Would you like fries with that?

Ford Tomato Infographic