Some 32 cars, representing 32 teams, with 122 drivers took on the Petron 8 Oras ng Pilipinas endurance race held at the Clark International Speedway in Pampanga, last December 2. 2018 proved to have the largest number of entries of the event thus far. Some 24 cars survived the grueling 8-hour enduro to see the chequered flag at the Clark International Speedway. The mixed grid of race cars, modified vehicles were divided into RP, FM-1, FM-2, FM-3, and Open Classes.
With Petron Blaze 100 Euro 6 and Petron Blaze Racing as the series’ official fuel and lubricant, grid positions were determined a day earlier on Saturday. The #4 SmartFuels2Race Honda Civic EG qualified on pole with a 2:10.930 time set by Trent Grubel, besting the rest of the field by more than a full second.
The eight-hour challenge began with a green light grid start at exactly 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. A battle immediately brewed between the #2 Team Helix Ultra Honda Civic FD, #24 H Racing Honda, pole-sitting #4 SmartFuels2Race Civic, and last year’s winner, the #1 Tuason Racing Formula V1 that eventually took the lead in the opening hour.
Entries were composed of a mix of veteran and neophyte endurance racers. A total of six female drivers took part in the Philippine Endurance Challenge (PEC) this 2018. Emily Duggan, from Australia, and celebrity racer, Gaby Dela Merced, were back again behind the wheel. There was also an all-female team, Team Helix Ultra 3, with Aira Medrano, Dimple Napat, Gabie Desales, and Kathy Villar. Another note-worthy entry was from the Motorsport Development Program (MSDP) of the Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP), composed of racing students and a Mazda Philippines-backed Mazda 2 SkyActiv. Racing veterans, Angie King, Carlos Anton, Don Pastor, George Apacible, Jeff Borja, Mike Tuason, Mon Dimapilis, and Peewee Mendiola also made up the roster of talents.
In this race, pit stops played a crucial role in winning and losing places, with refueling and driver-changes required. The #34 Hyundai Accent CRDi of Team AutoForce only required 2 fuel stops while the Formula V1, with its small fuel tank had to stop 10 times.
With a consistent, quick pace and reliability, the #2 Team Helix Ultra 1 Honda Civic FD, with drivers Andre Tan, Estefano Rivera, and Paolo Santos, took home the chequered flag 1st overall and in RP Class. The team had also won the 4 Oras ng Pilipinas last June.
Despite having to rebuild their engine overnight, the #5 AutoPerformance-Victor Hardware BMW M3 of Francis Aguila, George Apacible, SJ Park, and Stefan Ramirez gave chase to finish second, only 20.079 secs behind.
Meanwhile, CarPorn x PartsPro Racing’s #26 Mazda MX-5 ND put on a strong performance to dominate both FM-1 and FM-2 Classes. The team was made up of Angie King, Allan Uy, Carlos Anton, and Tyson Sy.
The Toyota Vios Cup cars of Mango Suites x OTR Motorsport and Team Cebu x MR Auto Shop dueled all race long for the top spot in FM-3. Bjorn Ongtiaobok, Francis Dysico, Maila Alivia, and Red Diwa would eventually finish a lap ahead of the #20 car of Team Cebu driven by Ate De Jong, Brian Currie, and Willem Waltheer.
Last year’s overall champion, the Tuason Racing Formula V1 this time scored the Open Class win. Ferdie Ong, Louis Ramirez, Mike Tuason, Milo Rivera, and Shane Henderson brought the car home with 186 laps in the bag.
Raceform x Ethanworx x Garage 2233 won the Team Championship with a total of 510 laps done by their three entries. They were followed by Team Cebu x MR Auto Shop with 379 laps completed, and SmartFuels2Race Team with 375.
In total, the Petron 8 Oras ng Pilipinas saw 4,762 laps completed, covering 19,948 km in total race distance.
For more info or inquiries, visit the Philippines Endurance Challenge page on Facebook.