Toyota Motor Philippines’ (TMP) premier motorsports program, now called the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Vios Cup, made a historic comeback after a year’s hiatus with new and familiar names battling for this race weekend’s podium finishes and awards.
Kicking off the season with a surprise appearance of the GR Yaris driven by TMP President Atsuhiro Okamoto, 24 Autocross racers and 24 Circuit racers across 3 race classes competed at the Clark International Speedway in Pampanga this July 9 and 10 and raced their way to the finish line as the online community shared the thrill and excitement real-time.
TMP announced the return of the Vios Cup early this year, much to the excitement of racing veterans, aspiring and rookie drivers, and other motorsports enthusiasts. While there are no public spectators for this race weekend to enforce safety protocols for the participants, TMP livestreamed the racing events to let more motorsports fans cheer and support their favorite racers safely from their homes.
During the first race weekend of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Vios Cup, racing fans witnessed the comeback of veteran racers, celebrities, and media representatives, as well as new faces competing in the Autocross Challenge and Circuit Championship formats at the Clark International Speedway, one of the country’s premier racing circuits.
“Toyota Gazoo Racing is all about pushing the limits for the better. We had to hit the brakes due to the pandemic last year, but now we are back with an even more exciting race!” Okamoto remarked during the opening ceremonies “So here we are today at the Clark International Speedway, returning with the ever-reliable Vios. This Filipino-made car is really fun to drive on the daily and at the tracks. With hope for better days ahead and maximum safety protocols, we move forward and race on!”
A total of 24 drivers in Promotional, Sporting, and Super Sporting Class competed in the Circuit Championship. Maila Alivia and Jiro Garbes ended this race weekend with 2 out of 3 races at 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 is 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.
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.