Drive to survive: 'Team CarBay' at the TGR Vios Cup Autocross Leg 2

Drive to survive: 'Team CarBay' at the TGR Vios Cup Autocross Leg 2

It's obvious that Formula 1 and the Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) Vios Cup Autocross are totally different motorsports series. But during the Leg 2 of the latter event, I've come to realize that drivers of the subcompact race cars, should be as installed as properly as those in the 300kph single seaters. 

But then again, my lengthy arms barely reaching the Vios Cup Car's steering wheel, which adjusts for rake only and not reach, was the least of my worries. The unofficially named "Team CarBay"— composed of this writer and ZIGWHEELS PHILIPPINES Managing Editor Roy Robles — had other issues to contend with. That's something especially true in my case, because this racing rookie competed against 11 members of the motoring media who carried more motorsports experience under their belts, such as Roy.

So entering the Leg 2 of the TGR Vios Cup Autocross, I aimed to reach one goal: Not to finish last, but still in a good enough position to earn myself some points, just like in the first leg.  I hope to make it like Lance Stroll or Esteban Ocon in F1. Mid-field, in other words.  The 12 social media influencers and celebrities also vied for victory in their respective class, too. 

Autocross racing is a race against time in which drivers maneuver a tight course outlined by barriers and pylons. The TGR Vios Cup Autocross was held in between the circuit races of the Vios Cup last Saturday, October 16, at Clark International Speedway. 

Practice sessions 1 and 2

Before the qualifying, semi-finals, and the finals proper of the Autocross, the joining influencers and media were given two practice sessions on Friday . And we needed those practice sessions, as Tuason Racing School (TRS), the Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) motorsports partner, redesigned the track and made it more challenging. Below is the autocross track format of the previous leg, while further below is the Leg 2 track. Notice how the new, longer track takes an irregular shape.  

Toyota-Vios-AutocrossWhat also made the practice sessions crucial is the weather, with cloudy skies threatening to rain on our parade. Thankfully, the morning and afternoon practice sessions saw dry weather, so I was able to apply the tips from the TRS instructors: Braking later and harder, almost triggering the Vios' ABS, before the chicane and hairpins. I also entered the chicanes at an angle, so I don't have to twirl the wheel left to right too much and scrub speed. 


With the timers out, the other motoring journalists clocked in times between 49 to 59 seconds, some ways off my one minute to one minute and 12 seconds. It looks like I have to really put my foot down to qualify for semi-finals tomorrow. 


With my heart beating so strong—I shouldn't have had that second cup of coffee—I drive as fast as I dare through those cones and barriers. If I wanted to reach my goal of scoring points, I should qualify at least eight out of 12 to reach the semi-finals. 

Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) Vios Cup

Once again, the TGR Vios Cup Car proves to be a capable companion. Its light steering allows for frantic arm twirling during slaloms, the Bridgestone tires provide excellent grip, and the Brembo brakes always bite strongly as expected. The bucket seats and racing harness hold the driver in place. 

Toyota-Gazoo-Racing-Vios-Cup-Autocross-2And once again, I land P8 to enter the semi-finals. My time of 56.28 seconds is just a few tenths behind the time of Jether Miole, no less the champion of the GR GT Cup, the e-sports tilt organized by TMP. As for Roy, despite missing Friday's practice runs, lands P6 with a time of 55.24. 

The top driver dominates all of us with 48.21 seconds. 

Semi-finals and finals

Roy and I run close, but not close enough — finishing eighth and seventh, respectively. In the semis, the eight drivers have been narrowed down to just four. In the finals, only three drivers were named the winners. 

Autoindustriya's Jose Altoveros was once again named the champion of the TGR Vios Cup Autocross. Behind Altoveros was Tier One Entertainment's Brian Dacanay, who's a new competitor in the series, and C! Magazine's Paolo de Borja. 

Toyota Gazoo Racing Vios Cup

It was such a thrill competing and landing a decent position in this race. After fantasizing about being a race car driver since childhood, I've finally caught the racing bug. And perhaps the car's driving position could be better. 

Photos from Toyota Motor Philippines, Toyota Gazoo Racing Philippines, and Dylan Afuang 




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