Learning a new skill in any given discipline always starts with the fundamentals.
In basketball, you must first learn the right shooting form before attempting fadeaways. When writing, you should know proper spelling, punctuation, and sentence structures before coming up with a literary piece. But what about when it comes to racing on the track?
Well, that's what we came for at the Gazoo Racing Festival 2022 in Clark International Speedway. Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) showcased the local GR lineup, and together with Tuason Racing, we went for a fun day of track activities that taught us the importance of the fundamentals of racing.
For starters, we arrived at CIS on a Thursday morning to the sight of GR cars – but it was raining. As we all know, a wet track isn't exactly the ideal condition for racing, but it's the kind of weather that will further hone our racing skills. After a few safety reminders, it was time to get some track action; the first order of the day was slalom.
It was a simple series of left and right turns with a 180-degree turn in the end before going back through the cones and into the stop box. Now in the dry, it's very much a straightforward task. But in the wet, the OMR Vios Cup race car was a lot loose when going to the chicanes at speed. Meaning, delicate car control was required. We had four runs (two practice, two timed runs) at the slalom course to figure it all out.
So what did I learn? Personally, it was a refresher on keeping the momentum going. The Vios Cup race car doesn't have a lot of power, so slowing down to a complete stop and getting back up to speed would cause you to lose a lot of time. Not to mention, it's easier to lose the back of the car in the wet, so you need the right amount of gas, steering, and braking to find the optimum balance and speed through the slalom course.
Now with a better understanding of the Vios Cup race car's behavior in the wet, our second activity was to do some proper laps on the entire length of the Clark International Speedway in a follow-the-leader session. Time to reach faster speeds, then.
We set out on a group of five OMR Vios Cup cars in a single file with an instructor car leading the pack. Once the Tuason Racing instructors saw that we could keep up, the pace car would increase its speed. Since the track had already dried up at that point, we were able to follow each other closely without any incident. Also, there were no stopwatches around, so it was just all about having valuable seat time with the Vios Cup car.
For the last session of the day, however, the time sheets were brought back again for the quarter-mile drag. Since we all had identical cars, hand-eye coordination and reaction time is key to topping the exercise. And then some.
Being the cheeky competitive guy, I chose the Vios Cup car that had a ducktail wing and went full Top Gun with it. Just for fun, I folded the side mirrors like how an F-14 tucks its wings for less drag and maximum top speed. Two official runs after that, I was awarded the second-best quarter-mile time. So the silly antics actually did work. Moments later, there was the icing on the cake - I was awarded the fastest time on the West slalom course.
Awards aside, I think the most important takeaway is that everyone who went to Clark that day came out as better-skilled and more capable drivers both on and off track, all by just doing (and enjoying) basic things like braking, accelerating, and turning. It's a win-win for everyone, and we all have Toyota Motor Philippines and Tuason Racing to thank for that.
Now I understand why Kobe never got bored with the basics. So neither should I.