What we learned from the TGR Vios Cup Autocross Challenge

What we learned from the TGR Vios Cup Autocross Challenge

I wish I had the authority to give out tips on autocross racing. After all,  we at ZIGWHEELS PHILIPPINES didn't exactly dish out a spectacular performance at the Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) Vios Cup Autocross Challenge, which served as a support race of sorts to the Circuit races. 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • What is autocross?

    In autocross, drivers vie to register the fastest time around tight course outlined by barriers and pylons. 
  • Who joined the Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) Vios Cup Autocross Challenge?

    Twelve journalists from various motoring media outfits-- including ZIGWHEELS PH -- and 12 celebrities and influencers.
  • In the first TGR Vios Autocross leg, we spent more time hitting the cones than driving around them, but thanks to my dumb luck during qualifying, I sneaked into the semi-finals. This luck continued to the second leg, where "Team ZIGWHEELS" got into the semi-finals.

    As for the third and final leg of the TGR Vios Autocross, I qualified dead last in the media class, while Managing Editor Roy clocked in a lap time that was just a few tenths behind the eight placer (in qualifying, only the eight fastest racers can compete in the semis).     

    It wasn't the grand finale we were hoping for but, on the bright side at least, while we didn't win the race, we won autocross racing knowledge — courtesy of Tuason Racing School (TRS), the motorsports partner of Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) in staging the TGR Vios Cup.

    Before the circuit and autocross racers were allowed to lay rubber on Clark Speedway, TRS educated competitors — 20-plus circuit racers and 24 autocross drivers — on the fastest and safest ways around the tracks. 

    Toyota-Gazoo-Racing-Vios-Cup-Autocross

    The racing tips came from no less than TRS founder and veteran racing driver JP Tuason, award-winning racer Milo Rivera, and autocross legend Danny Santiago.  

    So, the information in this mini-autocross racing guide came from people who actually have the authority.  What's more, according to our esteemed instructors, the lessons we picked up can also be applied to circuit racing — and, more importantly, regular driving as well. 

    Autocross is a race against time, in which drivers maneuver a tight course outlined by barriers and pylons. 

    Requirements

    In the TGR Vios Cup Autocross, among the equipment we competitors were required to wear included the following: a DOT-approved helmet (the highest safety standard), racing suit, and closed shoes with the slimmest soles possible.

    TMP and TRS provided the drivers helmets and racing suits, while the slim shoes are ideal for modulating the cars' pedals. Meanwhile, another requirement to present is a valid driver's license. 

    Toyota-Gazoo-Racing-Vios-Cup-Autocross-3In other autocross races, the drivers have to compete in a road-worthy car. In the TGR Vios Cup Autocross, we were lent the one-make race (OMR) Vios Cup cars. Being race cars, the sedans are equipped with a roll cage, one bucket seat, and a racing harness, among other modifications. 

    Refer to the photo to know what qualifies as a road-worthy car to race organizers. 

    Hand and seating positions

    Your left and right hand should be in their respective "9 and 3 o'clock" positions on the steering wheel. This way, you can turn the wheel left and right to certain degrees — with your hands staying in those areas of the wheel. It's ideal for quick maneuvers, and crucially, knowing which direction the wheels are pointing. Toyota-Gazoo-Racing-Vios-Cup-AutocrossMeanwhile, you should be able to place your wrists on top of the steering while leaning comfortably on the seat. Your legs should also come slightly bent as you fully depress the pedals. 

    Car balance

    To allow the car to drive quicker, the key is to keep the car's weight balanced. To do this, you must accelerate, brake, and steer the car as smoothly, yet quickly, as you can. 

    Toyota-Gazoo-Racing-Vios-Cup-AutocrossNot only do these smooth driving tips translate into quicker lap times, but as TRS instructors said, these may come in handy should your car lose grip in a slippery surface. 

    Other driving tips

    What we've tackled so far are just tip of the autocross iceberg. Competing in this form of motorsport is more difficult than it looks, so TRS provided six key steps in navigating the tight turns of the autocross track. 

    Toyota-Gazoo-Racing-Vios-Cup-Autocross

    Also, what this quick guide couldn't describe is no matter how challenging the TGR Vios Cup Autocross was, the thrills it brought made all the difficulty worth it.  

    They say the autocross is the stepping stone into more hardcore racing, and they're right: autocross is far from being a game of hopscotch. 

    Photos and images from Toyota Motor Philippines, Tuason Racing School

     

     

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