Randy S. Peregrino
MOTIVATED by the passion for motorsports, Tuason Racing School (TRS) has taken the giant step to encourage local competition. The organizer of the ongoing and successful Vios Cup by Toyota Motor Corp. recently introduced a new and upcoming race series—the Formula V1. Along with the new program designed to revolutionize the motorsport ladder in the country is a remarkable kit race car originated from Suzuka, Japan.
TRS head and champion racer JP Tuason presented the program to select members of the motoring media. “Why are we doing this? Our passion really is motorsports. We’re taking a big step,” he said. The upcoming Formula V1 series is intended for intermediate drivers with more racing experience along with advanced competitors eyeing to move up from grassroots race programs. Also, to attract experienced racers to go back into the sport. In order to be eligible, participants must be at least 16 years old and possesses a national license B or higher. On top of that, a minimum experience of two years from any of the race competitions, such as Vios Cup, PTCC/GT, Flat Out Race Series, Karting class of X30, and other international competitions is a must. However skill in slalom, autocross, rally cross and drifting will not be considered.
Slated to kick off by next year, the series will debut with four separate legs consisting of three sprint rounds in April, June and September and one round for the endurance race (with multiple drivers) in November. Then by December, the champion driver will be sent to Suzuka or Fuji Speedway in Japan to compete for the race weekend representing our country. Tuason shared that they’re targeting 15 to 20 cars in a grid but also revealed his goal to have more in the near future. “After two to three years from now, our goal is to have 40 cars racing in Formula V1,” he said. Moreover, Formula V1 is deemed to be in synergy with the country’s various race series and programs. “Our plan is to align with all the racing programs in the country to create a unified development with everyone enjoying a mutual gain,” Tuason explained. “We all need to work together to complete our dreams for the racing Filipinos,” he added.
Meet the FV1 kit race car
TRS partnered with West Race Cars—a Japanese racecar manufacturer based in Suzuka—to pick the ideal platform for the new program. With over 40 years of experience in engineering formula kit cars, the company currently manufactures six types of vehicles. Unveiled during the event was the Formula V1 race car derived from the Vita-01 model manufactured by West Race Cars. “We went to Suzuka, Japan this year to test the cars ourselves and I knew we wanted to start this project because it’s the kind of project that’s close to our hearts,” Tuason revealed.
The single-seater, mid-engine/RWD race car is powered by a stock Toyota 1NZ-FE engine mated to a five-speed manual (H-pattern and short shift) gearbox. That’s the same 1.5-liter powertrain propelling the Vios and Yaris generating 110 horsepower. Remarkably, the car is built with sturdy tubular steel frame reinforced with aluminum panels for safety. Weighing only 530 kilograms, it can sprint from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in just 4.5 seconds and can reach a top speed of 200 kph. Further, the race car has no driver aids (traction control, antilock breaking system and etc.) to promote true racing, but is equipped with Willwood brake components. Moreover, dampers are custom-built Tein coilovers. In order to make the program cost effective, several race components have been localized—making Formula V1 racing more accessible. One testament is the involvement of Philippine Aluminum Wheels Inc. as the first major sponsor to provide Rota brand rims for the race car. The car is so light that it runs on street-spec tires which can last for a season. With almost 200 units in production, these same cars are popularly raced in Japan and similarly being introduced in China and Taiwan. At the moment, TRS have five race-ready units (with one unit already sold) available to interested buyers but will ship more by early next year. The Formula V1 race car is packaged at P2.1 million, which includes a set of Rota Wheels, tires, race suit, one-day training course, plus the entry fee to the 2018 season.