Moreno, Cabrera, and Miole reign supreme in the national finals.
Since the introduction of the TOYOTA GAZOO RACING GT Cup in the Philippines in 2020, Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) has envisioned a venue to let everyone – that means all levels of familiarity whether a pro or a newbie, across all ages, everyone can enjoy the adrenaline rush brought by the power of the thrill (Waku-Doki) through e-motorsport. This is an exciting transition from the real-world track experience to the virtual circuits without leaving a seat, especially that the unexpected challenges of the community quarantine restrictions have accelerated the shift to digital activities. For this year’s edition of the E-motorsport program, over 600 participants from around the Philippines have signed up to test their skills and prove their worth on the digital podium. The roster included a wide variety of players including those aged 17 below, and young-at-hearts, coming from the professional and novice levels of experience in e-sports. One notable virtual racer is 15 years old Joshua G. Marquez who only started competing last year but has progressed already into the real-track racing of Karting by participating in the Petron Motorsports Karting races winning already some podium trophies by applying racing theories he learned from eSports. Truly, it has further opened opportunities for everyone to have fun in one great online arena.
Imagine, Filipino racers getting the opportunity to race in the world-famous tracks in history without leaving their homes! Round after rounds of preliminary and qualifying races, netizens, gaming fans, and enthusiasts alike have witnessed the emergence of Filipino talent and most possibly the heralds of the future of e-motorsports. It didn’t matter where these players were, or what they have in their hands to join the game (it was either a racing rig or the standard-issue controllers), all that dominated was heart-pumping excitement each time the green signal lit until the checkered flag was waved within the game.
The riveting closing chapter of the race finally arrived.
The 3 rounds of thrilling action had everyone tethered to their screens just to see the players that they root for claim the championship titles. Whether it’s in the Italian racetrack, the Japanese fictional, and the real-world circuits, there’s no denying that the players were determined to put the pedal to the metal (or at least with their controllers) to put their names on the leaderboard. Both familiar names and newcomers came and went on the final list until 12 total racers from both Sporting (Professional experience in E-motorsports) and Promotional Class (Beginner/casual players in the industry).
And now, the National Finals have arrived. The determining factor of who among the aspirants were to be hailed as the fastest driver in the Philippines taking all the glory for this year’s unparalleled tournament. Driving the much-awaited GR iteration of the Toyota Yaris, the racers stream through the Tsukuba Circuit, Japan for the first round of three for the finals. None of these competing participants have backed down. Luis Moreno throttled and strived to maintain his leadership while e-motorsports mainstay Terence Lallave chased him at the rear taking advantage of the slipstream. And finally, the crossover talent Estefano Rivera hugged the turns and kept it tight all along the 8 turns of the circuit just to hold on in the position.
The second stage took the racers to the Kyoto Driving Park, a Gran Turismo original track that features 15 turns along a total length close 5 kilometers. During this time, the aspiring champions have kept their composure and did not surrender to these challenging curves and hairpins. Finally, the last stage takes place at the Suzuka Circuit, a real-world track spanning just a little over 5.8 kilometers with a whopping 17 circuits, plus a figure 8 layout that just adds to the challenges for the virtual drivers.
In the end, Russel Cabrera from Junior Class, Jether Miole from Promotional Class, and Luis Moreno from the Sporting Class, all emerged victors. They all get to go home with pride and glory as the champions of the 2021 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing GT Cup, plus they will take home a cash prize of PHP100,000 and a brand-new Sony PlayStation 5 each.
Racers come, racers go further
When asked about the best experiences in the race, Russel Cabrera shared, “It was an awesome experience being able to race despite the pandemic. I practiced hard and pushed myself to outdo my best time. Practicing with some of my online racer friends also helped me a lot.” He goes on to express his thanks for the entire tournament, “I am thankful for TOYOTA GAZOO RACING for giving racers like me a venue to race and compete against each other. The race tracks we competed in were all challenging.”
Cabrera added. “The races were tough even for my class. I always expect that someone is going to be faster than me, so I have to practice my racecraft and put more hours on the track days before each race heats.” unwavering racer Jether Miole responds when asked about his preparations for the game. He’s been very eager to put in his patience and perseverance. Jether also candidly gave his answers as to what it takes to win the tournament, “Good clothes, peaceful environment, and days of practice.” “It is a good alternative if not the best substitute for actual races given the situation of the pandemic in the country. With real-life racing drivers joining, it ups the ante for those who focus on e-motorsports,”
Sporting Class Champion Luis Moreno shares his view of what makes the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing GT Cup so unique. “As long as people know the fundamentals of racing such as cornering, braking, and acceleration management, anyone can get into e-motorsports,” Moreno added as a tip for those who wanted to venture into the world of e-racing.
Altogether, the 2021 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing GT Cup has proven one of the most exciting visions of Toyota – that everyone can enjoy Waku-Doki, the power of the thrill no matter who they are and no matter what they do, it brings everyone together in the spirit of sportsmanship, the adrenaline of the race, and the overall happiness that these games bring us. It is of TMP’s continuing mission to provide a venue for talented Filipino gamers, most especially in the world of motorsports, to showcase their world-class prowess. The future of e-sports in the Philippines is ever-growing and even bigger more than ever. It’s not too far long that we will see the next generation of champions in the world of virtual racing.
Beyond the home and onto new landscapes
The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing GT Cup moves forward into Toyota dealerships and is now giving chance to fans and enthusiasts, essentially everyone who wants to take on the thrill and excitement of the virtual race.
The GT Cup experience in GR dealerships started with Toyota Quezon Avenue (October 18 – 24) and will be followed by Toyota Otis (November 8 – 14), Toyota Makati (November 22 – 28), and Toyota Alabang (December 6 – 12). Interested participants can simply approach the on-ground Race Steward to join. Winners get to take home exciting merchandise from Toyota. Missed the races? Watch the official videos over at the official social media pages of Toyota Motor Philippines. Fans and enthusiasts of the race should bookmark the official Facebook page of Toyota Motor Philippines (facebook.com/ToyotaMotorPhilippines) for more information. You can also visit toyota.com.ph to view the Vios GR-S and the GR Yaris and learn how you can own one now. To learn more about Gazoo Racing, its innovations, and engineering, follow TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Philippines on Facebook.