A number of motoring journalists wax sentimental about the Honda Media Challenge. Since 1998, this pioneering media event has been most awaited by media personalities associated with the motoring industry. They have been covering races here and abroad but this was the first time they have been allowed to get inside a prepped race car and allow themselves to dream - even for just a short while - how it is like to be a race driver.
The previous challenges were held as rallycross and rallye events. But this year's races promise to be different as the 2005 series brings the event to the circuit track. And this time four 1.5-liter Honda Jazz VTEC units have been prepared to take on the grueling punishment.
On September 24, 40 top local motoring media will converge on the Carmona Racing Circuit for the first competition round of the series. Racing legend Pocholo Ramirez is this year's race director, and is expected to mentor the competitors on how to hone their driving techniques and make the best time on the technical 1.2-kilometer circuit. Speed is not expected to be the main objective as the racers need to plan every move on every corner to gain those much-coveted points. They will also have to answer to more rigid rules with large demerits for every wrong move.
Xtra Unleaded, the new fuel-efficient gasoline from Petron, is expected to provide the "Power for Extra Miles" during the event. An environment-friendly premium fuel recommended for high-compression engines, Petron's new Xtra Unleaded contains a high-performance detergent additive that ensures optimum vehicle performance and a unique catalyst that conditions the fuel for more efficient combustion and lower fuel consumption. Its 93+ octane rating will definitely deliver the much needed power boost that the racers will need during their runs.
Goodyear, which is the OEM tire of the 1.5 Jazz VTEC is the official tire sponsor for the event. Since circuit events are notorious for being more "tire-hungry", the durability and reliability of Goodyear tires will face some tough challenges as the journalists subject them to extraordinary wear-and-tear with lightning fast acceleration and hard-braking moves through the track.
Old rivalries between past champions — particularly the teams from Philippine Star and Manila Bulletin - will add color to the Jazz VTEC Media Challenge, not to mention the brewing competition between old-timer and newbie drivers. Top Gear and C! magazines are expected to present a tough challenge for the top spot, as they seek to prove their mettle in the motoring beat.
Automobile Association of the Philippines, the national auto club, is also providing much-needed support as part of its motorsport advocacy. Other sponsors include Nodalo's for the car modifications, AITECH for the car stickers, and IgerTech for the timing system. The event is organized by ADBM Resources.