Philippine Allied Enterprises Corporation(PAEC), the official Philippine distributor of Bridgestone tires, recently held a mini-track event at the Batangas Racing Circuit for car club members and the motoring media. This was the first of a series of three events that Bridgestone have prepared to showcase their latest high performance tire, allowing us to fully test them where they feel at home: a race track.
To further appreciate the tire's capabilities, two units each of the new Toyota 86 and the BMW 118d were fitted with the Bridgestone Potenza S001, ready to be used for the activities laid out for us that day.
The event started out by the distribution of proper racing attire to offer us protection and let us experience how it feels like to be a real racing driver. A quick introduction about the Potenza S001 tires, highlighting its high performance potential and selection as the OE tire for the Ferrari 458 Italia, we were then briefed on the afternoon's activities. The event consisted of two races: a timed slalom run using the Toyota 86 and a drag race using the BMW 118d, both cars fitted with Bridgestone's Potenza S001 tires. To make the event more exciting, prizes were to be given to the winning duo composed of an experienced and a novice driver.
So off we went to a blocked off portion of BRC; particularly the 'Casino Corner' for the first portion of the event. Two Toyota 86s were there for us to use. The course was laid out with pylons arranged as gates, slaloms, a hairpin turn and a stop box for us to maneuver the 86 with. Thankfully, JP Tuason of Tuason Racing School was there to explain the track layout to us and even gave out tips on how to tackle the seemingly simple layout of the track.
My teammate Vince Pornelos made sure to give me a more comprehensive briefing on how to go about the course and said that I should drive at my own pace; it is always better to have an average time than having a faster time with penalties incurred due to carelessness. Being a novice slalom driver, I consider my run fast enough considering I didn't hit any pylons on all my three runs.
The second part of the event was the drag race between two BMW 118d hatchbacks to highlight the superior grip of the new Potenza S001. With my teammate being an experienced drag racer and feeding me tips on how to anticipate the lights and launch the car, we were confident that we would ace this challenge. Lo and behold, we both won our respective runs, and what's even more surprising is the grip of the S001, transferring all the power and torque of the 2.0 liter turbodiesel to the tarmac with little wheelspin.
At the end of the day, the winning team was announced. Although our team didn't make it to the top spot, we're happy that we managed to make third place, after all, many of our competitors were seasoned veterans of these kinds of events.
Judging by the smiles on many faces there, we all enjoyed driving these fun cars... cars made even more exciting by the high performance Bridgestone Potenza tires they wore that day.
The next round of the Bridgestone Cup will take place at the Clark International Speedway's dirt track for some off road action.