MOTORSPORT FEATURES

Steps to Circuit Racing

Steps to Circuit Racing image

Text: Andre Arellano / Photos: Brent Co | posted March 11, 2003 11:23

How to get into circuit racing

You might have imagined what it would be like to be a racecar driver one time in your life, or it may have just crossed your mind. Here we have a brief backgrounder on how to get into circuit racing.

I. Driving School - First for those of you who do not know much about racing you can take the Racing Lessons that is provided by Sports Values Inc. It is a one day course which covers the basics from the driving position all the way to racing lines and racing strategy. You have to use your own car so make sure it has seatbelts in the front seats. The instructor is Kookie Ramirez and when needed he is assisted by his father or brothers. Passing this course gets you a certification from Sports Values Inc. which is forwarded to the Philippine Motor Association should you want to get a racing license. The course costs P3,000.00 and is a good investment before you start spending a lot more money racing. For more information on the driving school contact Kookie Ramirez at 671-6926.

II. Slalom is a great way for an individual to try his hand at driving a car with some precision and speed. Slaloms are run is relatively small area, the track varies from one event to another. The competitors get to walk around to know where to pass. There are many classes for many different types of cars, so you can use almost any kind of car, no need for super modifications. Since there are usually many participants, you usually only get 1 or 2 runs in a day. Each car has to pass through a set course as fast as possible without hitting any of the pylons. The speeds are not very high but it calls for very precise driving and a perfect run. For more information contact RACE Motorsports at 928-6951 or 0917-811-9337.

III. Run What You Brung like the slaloms is open to all kinds of cars. It is only for amateurs, this means if you have competition license you cannot join this event. The course is the short course at Subic International Raceway (SIR) and is made up of 7 turns. The events are held during real race weekend, the competitors get to see the real race cars and feel the excitement. There are 4 classes and these are based on time brackets. Each entry gets a minimum of three runs on each day. Each entry must declare his bracket immediately after the first run. Drivers will then complete three (3) laps of the course and immediately enter the pit lane. During these three laps the drivers will be timed. If an entry breaks the time bracket (runs faster than the time), his time will not be allowed. The time closest to but not below the bracket time wins. Competitors can use any car they want as long as it has seatbelts. For more information you can contact Sports Values Inc. at 671-6926 or email at sportsvalues@edsamail.com.ph.

After learning the basics of racing, the next step is to join Circuit racing.

Where will you race?

There are two racing circuits in the Philippines, one is the Subic International Raceway (SIR) which is located in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone near Olongapo City. SIR is a FIA graded international race track and holds both international and national events. The circuit is 2.8 kilometers long and has 13 turns. The SIR holds the SVI Challenge Cup production class race, Super Saloon series where highly modified cars compete, Miata Cup and the Run What You Brung for people who want to try their cars out on the track. For more information you can contact Sports Values Inc. at 671-6926.

TYPES OF RACES:

SVI Challenge Cup allows very little modifications and is very competitive. It is the perfect place for drivers to start their racing. It is much more affordable than the Super Saloon event and the rules try to keep the costs down.

Classes - The Overall class is for slightly modified 1600cc production cars available locally, here you will find all the local Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra, Toyota Corolla, Mazda 323, Hyundai Elantra, etc. race each other.

Super Saloon Series

This is for highly modified touring cars with 1600cc engines. Imported cars are allowed. The rules are the same as the rules of the Philippine National Touring Car Series, this allows those who want to join two championships a chance to do so with the same car. This is where you will find all the top drivers and some of the fastest cars. There are three classes in the Super Saloon race.

Overall class - is for all the drivers, every entry has the opportunity to win the overall honors. Of course to do so you will have to beat every driver in the field.

Super Saloon B - this class is for the B rated drivers. These are drivers who have done well in their racing history. Some have won championships in the other classes, some are just drivers with some experience who like to drive the more modified cars. The champion of this class goes on to obtain an A rating, meaning he is one of the top drivers in the country.

Super Saloon C - this class is for C rated drivers. These are drivers who are relatively new to racing but are not novice drivers. They may have come from karting, slaloms, rallying, or other form of motorsports.

Another racetrack is the Batangas Racing Circuit (BRC), located in Rosario, Batangas near Lipa City. The BRC is 2.8 kilometers long with banking and has runoff areas for most of the racetrack. BRC runs different types of races which include, Formula 3, Touring Cars, Karting, Scooter races and Superbike races. For more information you can contact BRC at 815-1241.

TYPES OF RACES:

Formula 3 - is for those who seriously want to get into professional racing. A Formula 3 car is basically a scaled down copy of a Formula 1 car, without all the high tech driver aids and with a smaller engine. It is a precision built single seat chassis powered by a 2 liter engine that uses an air restrictor, similar to the Super Saloon restrictor. It is computer designed and redefined in a wind tunnel. It is capable of over 250 kph, it demands a clean, precise, committed driving style. It is definitely a serious racing car with a serious objective. Close hard, give no quarter competition, short, sharp sprint races where young drivers with serious career ambitions pay their dues.

Things you need to start Circuit Racing:

Competition License - you cannot compete in any sanctioned racing event without a competition license from the Philippine Motor Association. Here are the requirements they have before they will issue a license:

1. National Driving License
2. PMA Membership
3. Photo: 1 pc. 1x1 and 2 pcs. 1-1/2 x 1-1/2
4. SVI Certification - Sports Values Inc. gives a free seminar for certification.
5. ECG or EKG
6. Medical Certificate from Dr. Danilo Morella (PMA can help address an appointment)

Personal Safety Equipment:

1. Helmet - should have a rating of Snell 2000 or Snell SA2000
2. Fireproof Driving Suit - Single and Double Layer Suits (requires the use of fireproof underwear). Triple Layer (no need for fireproof underwear)
3. Fireproof Gloves
4. Fireproof Shoes and Socks

Vehicle Safety Equipment:

Please refer to the safety regulations of the class you wish to join. To give you an idea of the minimum requirements:

1. Six Point Roll Cage
2. Racing Seat
3. Four Point Seat Belt
4. Fire Extinguisher