Tuason Racing rises to the pandemic challenge, takes Philippine motorsports into the virtual world

August 7, 2020

2020 has been a seriously rough ride for the Philippine motorsports industry. Due to the onslaught of the Corona Virus Disease 2019 or COVID-19 early this year, things in the biz have undergone massive changes to adapt to this so-called “new normal” ways of racing.

Because of the subsequent lockdowns and social-distancing rules imposed by the government to “flatten the COVID-19 curve”, physical activities that attract a huge gathering of people have been put on hold. This includes motorsports.

Racing into cyberspace

But all is not a loss. Local motorsports may have its back on the wall right now, but it’s not down for the count just yet. This is all in due thanks to simulation racing (sim racing), a technology wherein racing is held in cyberspace using video games rigged with online connectivity.

This caught the eyes of Tuason Racing, the country’s premier racing and safety driving school. Not wanting to let down the racing spirit just because COVID-19 and lockdown, Tuason Racing embarked on a mission to take the scene into the virtual world.

It made this possible by teaming up with its new and long-time business partners, thus giving birth to a couple of online racing events under its watch – the recently-concluded Tuason Racing Phoenix Pulse Race for Front Liners and the ongoing Toyota GR Supra GT Cup Asia – Philippines.

The former was its way of helping our country’s COVID-19 fighters, dubbed as “front liners” (doctors, health workers, nurses, police, soldiers, among others), by way of organizing race-for-a-cause events. Each round would yield donations in cash (and sometimes in kind) from players, sponsors, Tuason Racing itself, and viewers alike. The said cash donations would be used to purchase food and other essential for the benefit of front liners.

The latter, on the other hand, is Tuason Racing’s project with Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP). Since the scheduled 2020 Toyota Vios Racing Festival was cancelled, the two companies turned to sim racing, thus keeping the “Waku Doki” spirit alive.

Similar to the Race for Front Liners, the Toyota GR Supra GT Cup Asia – Philippines takes place in the virtual racing arena of Gran Turismo Sport for the Sony PlayStation 4 system. It’s also open to the public, as well as seasoned and rookie players in both online and physical worlds.

What sets it apart from the former is that participants would use only the Toyota GR Supra sports car, essentially turning the event into a one-make racing series, just like the Vios Circuit Championship. And like the Vios Circuit Championship, tried and true Tuason Racing rules and regulations apply. The winner would represent the Philippines in the Asian regional challenge later this year.

Adjusting to the “new normal”

When Metro Manila went to an Enhanced Community Quarantine last March, Tuason Racing quickly embraced its transition to online activities.

“We knew we wanted to be in the digital space as early as 2019. So we pushed forward all our digital events such as the young driver program online with a skew to help our front liners. What was very interesting was this pivot to online racing was done while in lockdown without even one physical meeting with our team,” said JP Tuason, the main man of Tuason Racing.

Meanwhile, the company has implemented a work-from-home scheme until the end of 2020 and will reassess its plans for 2021 later in the year. Tuason Racing will also pioneer its new normal racing events later in 2020 featuring contactless racing on- and off-track.

Outlook on Philippine motoring industry in post COVID-19

Even though the world reels from the COVID-19 health crisis, JP Tuason remains positive that the automotive industry will soon recover and learn new things that they can apply in the future.

“It will recover as mentioned. Companies are evolving. It won’t be called car companies but mobility companies… they will surely find new ways. There will be some casualties, but life goes on and those that will survive will thrive but probably not the same way we have seen in the past,” JP concluded as he shares the spotlight on this photo with Jeanette, his wife and the co-founder of Tuason Racing.

About the Author

Randolph de Leon
Randy is a person with disability (PWD), a partially-blinded person with only his left eye functioning. Since childhood, the automobile has always been his passion, and is able to express it through photography and most recently, through writing as well. Outside the motoring beat, Randy spends time manning the media aspect of his business which he co-founded with his sister/college classmate. It's called Dragonlight Wellness and Solutions, a multi-business venture centering on improving peoples' lives through earning.