Local motorsports heats up with the return of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Vios Cup

Covering motorsports is one of the highlights of being a motoring journalist—at least if you’re into racing. But in this beat, who isn’t? Still there’s one other assignment that trumps covering a racing event. And that is having the opportunity to actually join a motorsports event—and then write about it.   

Since the pandemic struck, it’s been one sad and boring month after month without any racing event, here or abroad. Thankfully, Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) is rekindling the fire with the return of its heretofore-annual Vios Cup. The much-awaited premier motorsports program, now called the Toyota Gazoo Racing Vios Cup, is literally back on track. This year’s Vios Cup—Season 6—had 24 autocross racers and 24 circuit racers across three classes competing at the Clark International Speedway in Pampanga last July 9 and 10.

True to an industry leader, safety has been the No.1 priority for Toyota since the first season and this year is stricter still because of the ongoing pandemic. Two days before the race, TMP organized an antigen swab test for all attendees for the race weekend. Race marshals, TMP staff, Tuason Racing School (TRS) staff, racers, corporate sponsors, and everyone else attending the event were all swabbed before being cleared to participate. TMP prioritized safety even during the event as they hired a third party, Ambucare, to help sanitize the facilities and cars being used in the event. Ambucare’s staff made rounds throughout the event to disinfect attendees’ hands and replace facemasks every four hours. Since physical attendance by the public was not allowed to ensure adequate physical distancing, TMP livestreamed the race to the online community so fans can still virtually support their favorite celebrities and racers from the safety and comfort of their homes.

Autocross participants negotiating the course prior to the practice session


Friday was practice day for both circuit and autocross racers. Each class for the autocross had a chance to do a practice run and get a feel of the autocross track twice—once in the morning and again in the afternoon. Each practice session had our practice runs timed so the racers would be able to gauge if there are improvements in their respective times. Prior to the practice runs, there was another briefing to orient the first timers who will race this first leg of the GR Vios Cup.

A total of 24 drivers in Promotional, Sporting, and Super Sporting Class competed in the Circuit Championship. Maila Alivia and Jiro Garbes ended the race weekend with 2 out of 3 races on the podium for the Promotional Class while celebrity racers turned Promotional Class contenders Troy Montero and Fabio Ide had one podium finish each as well. Familiar names dominate the Sporting Class, with Inigo Anton and Julian Tang as consistent top 3 finishers, and Joaquin Garrido being displaced by Jacob Ang in the top 3 by the 3rd race of the weekend. For the Super Sporting Class, Gerard Loy was the consistent podium placer, meanwhile Estefano Rivera and Red Diwa finished at the top 3 in the first 2 races with Bryan Co and Marc Soong taking their place by the 3rd race.

The author in the #4 Vios Cup racecar

Meanwhile, actor Alex Diaz dominated the tracks in the Autocross Challenge Celebrities and Influencers Class, followed by TV star John Manalo and social media personality Jules Aquino. Jose Altoveros was hailed the champion in the Media class with with Ian Magbanua and Inigo Roces in 2nd and 3rd, respectively. My time was actually third fastest in the Media Class but the knockout configuration of the race relegated me to 4th overall out of 12 media autocross racers. Missing the podium surely stung. Here’s the complete list of the winners of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Vios Cup 2021 Circuit Championship and Autocross Challenge:

CIRCUIT CHAMPIONSHIP RACE 1

Promotional Class
RankNameTeam
1Maila AliviaJBT Racing / Toyota Isabela
2Jiro GarbesJBT Racing / Toyota San Fernando
3Julia Delos AngelesTSJ – Obengers Racing Team
Sporting Class
RankNameTeam
1Inigo AntonToyota North EDSA – Obengers Racing Team
2Julian TangToyota Marilao – Obengers Racing Team
3Joaquin GarridoToyota Otis – Obengers Racing Team
Super Sporting Class
RankNameTeam
1Estefano RiveraToyota Balintawak – Obengers Racing Team
2Gerard LoyR Racing / Toyota Dagupan
3Red DiwaJBT Racing / Toyota Isabela

CIRCUIT CHAMPIONSHIP RACE 2

Promotional Class
RankNameTeam
1Troy MonteroTeam TOYOTA GAZOO Racing PH
2Maila AliviaJBT Racing / Toyota Isabela
3Jason LaoOTR Racing Team
Sporting Class
RankNameTeam
1 Julian TangToyota Marilao – Obengers Racing Team
2 Joaquin GarridoToyota Otis – Obengers Racing Team
3 Inigo AntonToyota North EDSA – Obengers Racing Team
Super Sporting Class
RankNameTeam
1 Gerard LoyR Racing / Toyota Dagupan
2 Red DiwaJBT Racing / Toyota Isabela
3 Estefano RiveraToyota Balintawak – Obengers Racing Team

CIRCUIT CHAMPIONSHIP RACE 3

Promotional Class
RankNameTeam
1 Jiro GarbesJBT Racing / Toyota San Fernando
2 Fabio IdeTeam TOYOTA GAZOO Racing PH
3 Royce SarmientoRMS Cars Racing Team
Sporting Class
RankNameTeam
1 Inigo AntonToyota North EDSA – Obengers Racing Team
2 Jacob AngEagle Cement Racing Team
3 Julian TangToyota Marilao – Obengers Racing Team
Super Sporting Class
RankNameTeam
1 Gerard LoyR Racing / Toyota Dagupan
2 Bryan CoFILA Make A Wish Obengers Racing Team
3 Marc SoongR Racing / Toyota Dagupan

AUTOCROSS CHALLENGE

Media Class
RankNameTeam
1Jose AltoverosAutoindustriya.com
2Ian MagbanuaTop Gear Philippines
3Inigo RocesManila Bulletin
Celebrity/Influencers Class
RankNameTeam
1Alex DiazTeam TOYOTA GAZOO Racing PH
2John ManaloTeam TOYOTA GAZOO Racing PH
3Jules AquinoTeam TOYOTA GAZOO Racing PH

Those who missed the livestream can always rewatch the action on Toyota’s official Facebook and Youtube channels (Toyota Motor Philippines and Toyota Gazoo Racing PH).

Racing excitement happens again on the second and third legs on September 11 and November 6. 

The Toyota Gazoo Racing Vios Cup 2021 was organized in cooperation with Bridgestone, official fuel partner Petron, supported by Motul. Other sponsors are Brembo, Denso, AVT, 3M, OMP, Tuason Racing, and ROTA. Stay tuned on the latest updates and follow Toyota Motor Philippines and Toyota Gazoo Racing PH on Facebook and Instagram, check out the official website at toyota.com.ph, and join us on Twitter (ToyotaMotorPH) and Viber (Toyota PH).

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