Young hotshoe Luis Gono, the country’s first Toyota Vios Cup champion, and ace drifter racked up another spectacular feat at the race track as he led his team to clinch the overall championship at the 2017 Philippine Endurance Challenge held recently at the Clark International Speedway.
Gono was drafted by veteran racer and event organizer JP Tuason as one of five Tuason Racing Team drivers which competed at the eight-hour Endurance race. Team Tuason Racing had in its roster Bjorn Ongtiaobok, Ferdie Ong, Louis Ramirez, Mike Tuason and the young Gono as the ace in the hole.
Driving a Formula V1 Spec race car which was equipped with a 1500cc Toyota Vios engine, the car compensated by way of its lightweight construction and agility which was typical of a sprint racer. “Our car was not designed for endurance racing and we even had to really push it everytime we gassed up because our gas tank only had a 20 liter fuel capacity,” explains JP Tuason. Team manager Miguel Ramirez had to apply a strategy that would maximize fuel consumption with the most number of laps at the quickest time possible. “Since Luis Gono was the fastest among the team, we had to tweak the car which suited his driving. We strategically chose who would drive the car at this point of the race and in the end, it was the youngest who carried the team to the finish line,” adds Ramirez. “ It was a learning experience for me and my body ached after the race because I drove for four hours,” says Gono, who gamely traded paint and fought for every inch of the race track during the eight-hour race.
Despite having the most under powered car among the competing teams, the perserverance, experience and sheer talent of the team prevailed as their win became a footnote in Philippine Motorsports history.