Text: Brent Co / Photos: Brent Co | posted April 30, 2012 17:33
David Felicano on going International
David M. Feliciano is no stranger in the Philippine motorsports scene, with drifting in particular. He was one of the pioneers of drifitng in the Philippines. He co-founded the now defunct Burnt Rubber Productions which organized the first drift events in the country. He also runs a shop with his initials called DMF Drift Garage and a drift school. He traces his racing roots back to slalom and rally in his younger days.
Recently, he set on a campaign to compete in the Formula Drift Asia Series to challenge some of Southeast Asia's best drivers as well some talented drivers from Japan, Australia and New Zealand. This road however was not an easy one, because driver and vehicle development by our neighbors was far more advanced than he imagined. It took two seasons of car development and practice before Feliciano was able to secure a Formula Drift license.
What made you decide to compete in the Formula Drift Asia Series?
DMF: I wanted to gain more experience, skill and knowledge.
What car are you driving in the series?
DMF: 1989 Nissan Silvia S13
Are there any specific preparations that you needed to do to your car?
DMF: We had to put in a lot of serious horses into the car. We're talking HUGE amount.
Any preparations needed for yourself?
DMF: Yes I had to have my own preparation for my skills as a driver because the car kept on being upgraded in almost every event after that. I had to continually adjust in order to keep up with the car. Lots of practice and seat time was key, unfortunately I didn't have this luxury as my car was out of the country the whole time. I had to practice here with a different car.
How is the competition?
DMF: Very, very competitive because the drivers are all highly skilled and since it's international, the pressure to perform is much higher.
How do they compare to the level of competition we have here in the Philippines?
DMF: To be honest, It's still far, it needs a lot of improvement in all levels. I'm sure given the right help and support though it can be also achieved here.
What are the problems you usually encounter?
DMF: New rules that they add and in place in every event, that makes the comp. more difficult but the organizers do this in order for the drivers to always push themselves harder and in effect, improve every time. it also of course equates to a much better "show" as well for the spectators.
How are you doing in the competition so far?
DMF: I think I'm doing pretty well considering I was able to qualify for the Formula D Asia licence...And I was 25th in rank over-all in FD Asia from the last time I joined. The thing is I wasn't able to compete in the 1st round FD that was held in SG this year because my car was overstaying in KL and had to be shipped back home, leaving me with no car for the comp.
What have you learned from joining the series?
I have learned a lot and I'm very thankful and glad that I joined. The knowledge and skills that I gained can't be quantified. I learned not only as a professional driver/drifter, but also in the set-up of cars as well. Learned that the sport is not only about going sideways, specially at the speed we were doing, it required a lot of discipline and knowing what kind of equipment and set-up to put in the car. Good quality tires are a must at this speed.
Who are the people who have helped you?
DMF: DMFDrift of course, then there are my sponsors: Goodyear Racing, Tonnka, Motul, GT Auto, Riken Motorsports, Momo, Ultra Racing, Dori Aero Parts (Body kits), and media partner Autoindustriya.com. Without all of them I wouldn't have been able to join and compete internationally. Their help and support is very much appreciated.
What do you think you will need to do to be more competitive?
DMF: Seat time.
Do you think our local drivers can also be competitive in the series?
DMF: Yes, given a big enough proper place to practice and the right equipment that is at par with the international standards.