Toyota Gazoo Racing Academy revs up to train aspiring Filipino racers     

Updated May 24, 2021 | Same topic: Automotive FYIs

It welcomes the country’s future racing idols once again.     

It’s been six years since the Toyota Racing School (TRS) opened in the country. It presented an opportunity for aspiring car racers to learn both basic and advanced motorsport skills while having fun, competencies that would be necessary on the maiden season of the local Toyota Vios Cup. Both the school and the one-make race series managed to get six adrenaline-charged seasons before the COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone into the pits.  

Toyota Vios units

All equipment and cars are disinfected prior to use 

After a year in hiatus, TRS is staging a much-anticipated comeback. The changes start with a new name, as the school now reopens as the Toyota Gazoo Racing Academy Philippines (TGR Academy). According to the carmaker, TGR Academy aims to continuously develop Filipino racers who are competitive on the global level, as well as promote the love for motorsport.

“We’ve had a year of break because of the pandemic, but we’re back and it’s going to be very exciting season this year,” said TGR Academy instructor and race veteran JP Tuason. “We’ve got new drivers training already with us. So, we’re looking at about 30 cars on the grid at the season this year.”      

Face to face lecture

Aspiring racers are mentored by the country's race veterans and previous Vios Cup winners

As in the previous iteration, courses are divided into two levels. The first level is the Basic Circuit Car Class, where students learn the fundamental skills and essential safety rules for properly driving a race car around the track, including threshold braking, downshifting, racing line, and track lapping. Level two is the Advanced Circuit Class, which arms racers with the knowledge they would need to secure a podium finish, culminating in a mock race to get a feel of the competition.    

Unlike before, however, TGR Academy reformatted its processes to fit into the new normal. Online registration was mandatory and video conferencing was used in parts of the race class. Students are no longer allowed to share the vehicles they use with other participants.

Vios units at CIS

Participants get to apply the lessons they learned in a mock race at Clark International Speedway 

Everyone had to be tested upon entering Clark International Speedway prior to the on-ground training component. Each batch of students were assigned a dedicated time slot, with instructions relayed through two-way radios. And as part of health protocols, every piece of equipment was disinfected before use.     

Philippine Autocross champion Iñigo Anton signed up for both Levels 1 and 2. “Even though I’ve been racing for a long time, I still learn here. The classes and learnings made me a smoother and faster driver,“ he enthused. “It’s such a good program and hopefully, those people who are interested to join in racing, in general, would explore the program and start their journey here.”

Inigo Anton

Even with his experience, racer Iñigo Anton says signing up for the course sharpens his skills 

Even newcomers were impressed. “I enrolled in the Toyota Gazoo Racing Academy because I want to put my foot in the door in the world of racing," says racing neophyte Aleksa Meily. “I was very inspired after watching Formula 1, and I thought, ‘Why don’t I try it, instead of just watching in front of the screen?’.”  

Students who successfully complete the course become eligible for the next season of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Vios Cup in July, which is set to introduce a new batch of contenders. It also brings back the Super Sporting class, where the country’s seasoned racers take a crack at driving the Vios to victory.

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Know more about Toyota Vios 2021

Toyota Vios

Competing in the subcompact sedan segment, the Toyota Vios 2021 is the top sales contributor for the Japanese automaker. The price for the Toyota Vios in the Philippines ranges from PHP 681,000 to PHP 970,000. A total of 10 Toyota Vios cars is offered, with the top-of-the-line Vios GR-S variant coming with a Toyota Vios Philippine price tag of PHP 1,020,000. Two engine options are available in the range, which can be connected to either a 5-speed manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT). Dimensions-wise, the subcompact sedan spans 4,425 mm in length, 1,730 mm in width, and 1,475 mm in height. The main rivals of the Toyota vehicle include the Honda City, Mitsubishi Mirage G4, and Nissan Almera.

The Toyota Vios is not only the best-selling model in the Japanese automaker's lineup, but the entire Philippine market. It serves as a reliable and dependable subcompact sedan for those who are looking for a daily driver. Also, the Vios is proudly Philippine-assembled which supports Filipino automotive workers. Now, the vehicle is competing in its respective class head high using the refreshed body released by Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) in the country last 2020.

From ₱681,000

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Joseph Paolo Estabillo

Joseph Paolo Estabillo

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Joseph holds a degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines Diliman and has been writing professionally since 1999. He has written episodes for CNN Philippines' motoring show Drive, and has worked on corporate projects for MG Philippines and Pilipinas Shell. Aside from being Philkotse.com’s Content Lead, he also writes content for numerous car dealerships in the U.S., spanning multiple brands such as Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Maserati, among others.

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