Automotive

A racing virgin’s experience at the Toyota Vios Racing Festival

Challenging, but something worth doing again

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I love driving. Whether it’s an out of town drive for hours or simply going for a short trip with the wife, one could always count me in for such activities. So when Toyota Motor Philippines extended an invite to their annual Vios Racing Festival, I didn’t think twice and submitted my name.

I thought, “I drive pretty well on the road so this shouldn’t be that challenging. How hard is it to avoid cones, anyway?”

Boy, was I wrong.

The Racing Festival

As a quick background, Toyota Motor Philippines has been organizing Vios motorsport events in the country for six years now. Called the Vios Cup, the circuit race celebrates the spirit of Waku-Doki (shortened from the Japanese phrase “Waku waku doki doki” which translates to a feeling of “heart-pumping excitement”) and features drivers from different backgrounds — celebrities, new Vios owners, and car club members are just some of the individuals invited at this special event.

The Autocross Challenge

This season, TMP has added the Autocross Challenge that runs alongside the main event. It’s a timed competition where participants race through an obstacle course and finish with the quickest lap time possible. Basically, the company presents it as an amateur-friendly way to get into the world of motorsport.

The Experience

Unlike the main event where participants spent months training for the circuit race, I and my fellow media participants only got one day of practice driving around the obstacles before the event. The cars were provided by Toyota — a souped-up Vios OMR fit for the track — complete with manual gearbox and loads of torque. We were also given tracksuits and helmets so apart from keeping me safe, I looked like a legitimate race car driver wearing those.

As the title states, I had no experience whatsoever in racing cars. After the briefing, I was basically given the suit and the car and thrown into the track to get a feel for how to make the fastest lap time possible.

So I got in the car, drove up to the starting line, lodged the transmission to the first gear, and gave the engine a full rev. As soon as I was given the go signal Fast-and-Furious-style, I was off — complete with tires screeching.

The obstacle consisted of multiple chicanes and we needed to slalom our way past them. To make things more interesting, there were sharp u-turns and a 540-degree turn at one point and it was where I spun out since I made the mistake of applying brakes while making the turn. It felt like I was in a movie, though, like Ansel Elgort in Baby Driver.

After finishing the first lap, I made mental notes of how I can improve my time for the next practice run. The problem here wasn’t how to avoid obstacles. It’s how to avoid obstacles with speed to be able to finish with the quickest time.

Good thing there were seasoned racers with us and they were able to give me some tips. One could say that taking on the Autocross challenge is similar to dancing — you have to know exactly when to shift, when to brake, and when to turn. These are key elements that I needed to keep in mind, pretty much like memorizing dance steps. I did better time during my second attempt and that concluded our practice day.

Then came the race day itself. After breakfast, I was just in my hotel room sitting down and pretending to drive while thinking about the track. I saw the racing movie Rush a few years back and that’s where I got the idea of imagining yourself on the track, taking on the obstacles and practicing gear shifting at the right moment.

After the opening ceremonies and the main event kicking off, it was our time to compete. To cut some of the details, I finished with a time of 1:01 with the top 10 finalists finishing at 0:58. Considering it was my first time doing something like that, I was pretty happy and satisfied with my performance.

End of Day Thoughts

As someone who’s always into trying out new things, participating in an Autocross Challenge was definitely one for the books. It’s a great initiative from Toyota Philippines to continuously hold events like this to keep the spirit of motorsport alive in the country.

The racing festival itself, even if you’re not a participant, was a really enjoyable event even for the entire family. It’s also worth recognizing TMP’s efforts to bring new blood into the sport every year as it’s not exclusive to Vios owners only. In fact, they’re also opening the Autocross Challenge for the public through their social media pages.

So if you want to get into the adrenaline-pumping world of racing, head to their official pages and see how you can be part of the next Toyota Vios Racing Festival.

If you’re still reading up to this point, it just means you’re one interested fellow and you might want to check out the event next year when it makes a comeback.

You’ll enjoy it. I know I did!

Automotive

New Ford Ranger FX4 is an updated workhorse truck

Ford’s truck lineup offers a Ranger for everyone

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Ford Philippines has just introduced a new model for its already successful lineup of pickup trucks. Called the Ranger FX4, it exudes toughness with its bold design, work-ready performance, and smart technologies.

It also adds to the company’s Ranger portfolio making it the automotive company with the widest lineup of pickup trucks in the country with 13 available variants.

Ford Ranger FX4

The new FX4 still maintains the Ranger’s general appeal but it comes with unique 18-inch black alloy wheels, door handles, front and rear bumpers, and fresh fender features.

Decals along the lower doors and a 3D badge on its tailgate make sure that onlookers will know this is the updated model.

Stepping inside, you’ll be welcomed by Fx4-embossed leather seats, FX4-branded floor mats, and sporty dark environment highlighted by race red stitchings on the soft top instrument panel, center console, gear shifter, and door trims.

In terms of features, we know that Ford doesn’t skimp on the essentials. The new FX4 carries an infotainment system complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on its 8-inch touchscreen display.

Powering the Ranger FX4 is the company’s 2.2-liter Duratorq diesel engine mated with a six-speed manual or automatic transmissions, producing 160PS of power and 385Nm of torque.

The new Ranger models are now available in Ford dealerships nationwide. Pricing is at PhP 1,256,000 for the 4×2 MT model and PhP 1,316,000 for the 4×2 AT variant.

They’re available in five colors — Absolute Black, Aluminum Metallic, Arctic White, Meteor Grey, and True Red.

An updated lineup of trucks

  • Aside from the new Ranger FX4, Ford Philippines is also introducing a series of enhancements and upgrades to its entire Ranger lineup.
  • Ranger XLS variants now come with a new 8-inch LCD touchscreen radio with Apple Carplay and Android Auto Capability. A new Ranger XLS Sport 4×2 A/T variant is added to the Ranger XLS products available to customers.
  • Ranger XLT variants also come with a new 8-inch LCD touchscreen radio with Apple Carplay and Android Auto Capability.
  • Ranger Wildtrak 4×2 variants now have a new wheel design and LED headlamps. The Wildtrak 4×4 also has a new wheel design, LED headlamps, camera-based Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection and high-mount USB feature to support various dashcam models.
  • Ranger Raptor now comes with a camera-based Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, high-mount USB, and LED headlamps.

Test drive Ford’s trucks for yourself

The launch of the Ranger FX4 also marks the official kick-off of the Ford Island Conquest event this year. The first leg of the experiential test drive will happen on January 24-26, 2020 from 9AM to 9PM at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds in Pasay City.

During the three-day event, customers have the chance to test drive the Ranger FX4 and other Ford vehicles on a specialized driving course that will showcase the vehicles’ best-in-class features and capabilities.

Customers also have the chance to avail of exclusive offers and deals when they purchase a Ford vehicle. This includes a PhP 10,000 outright cash discount and pick-a-prize cash discount of up to PhP 100,000 on top of existing promotions for the month. Over Ph 1.3 million worth of cash discounts and prizes are up for grabs during the Ford Island Conquest kick-off.

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Automotive

Audi shows off its empathetic car at CES 2020

It’s concerned about the passenger’s well-being

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For people who drive or commute in the city, traffic jams, crowded streets, and other eyesores can add to the stress we already have. It’s an unavoidable lifestyle every time we’re on the road and is something we wish we had a solution to. Audi, at the CES 2020, seems to have the answer to this with the revelation of their concept car, the Audi AI:ME.

Described as an empathetic car, the fully automated Audi AI:ME represents a personal “third living space,” alongside our homes and workplaces, this self-driving vehicle is sure to pamper its passengers through the use of the latest automotive AI technologies.

So how can a car be empathetic? For starters, by recognizing its users and their habits, it will combine artificial intelligence to increase the passengers’ safety, well being, and comfort.

You can communicate with the car intuitively and even have it order your favorite food or enjoy a wellness experience with a pair of VR goggles that will allow passengers to change the environment in real-time together with the movement of the vehicle.

Upon arriving at your destination, you will find that your ordered food was delivered on time thanks to the AI navigation coordinated by the car’s navigation data. In the future, the car will also conduct a precise analysis as to the functions and settings that its user prefers, ranging from the seat position, media, route guidance, and temperature to the fragrancing of the interior.

Audi has also introduced, along with this vehicle, a 3D heads up display that works like a 3D television. Developed in cooperation with Samsung, Images generated for the left and right eye will give you a true 3D image. You will be able to see vital information, like navigation arrows as if they were floating in front of you at a distance of 8-10 meters and can even be increased to 70 meters. Your eyes will no longer have to refocus looking at the instrument cluster.

Should the driver get tired, different ambient lighting will provide a remedy from blue to cool white light which can have a stimulating and invigorating effect on the driver.  Audi calls this the Human-Centric Lighting.

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Automotive

Nissan shows off Ariya concept, zero-emission ice cream van at CES

There’s even a self-sinking golf ball!

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Apart from other car brands strutting their newest offerings, Nissan is also in full swing over at the ongoing CES 2020 in Las Vegas. Their booth showcases things that first and foremost promote sustainability with technologies that are soon within reach.

To further show what these features can do, the company has taken their technologies and developed new, creative uses for them. These are then available to experience at Nissan’s booth. Check them out:

Nissan Ariya concept: The crossover vehicle is making its North American debut and brings together advanced technologies on an all-new EV platform. It carries the Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite that we’re pretty familiar with along with an expansive lineup of innovative features.

Technology experts will give demonstrations of Ariya Concept features such as the ProPILOT 2.0 advanced driver assistance system, twin-motor all-
wheel-control system, acoustic meta-material, and Smart Route Planner.

Nissan’s zero-emission ice cream van: Chill out with ice cream served from a concept van that combines an all-electric drivetrain, second-life battery storage, and renewable solar energy generation. Based on the 100% electric e-NV200 light commercial vehicle, the ice cream van’s motor is driven by a 40-kilowatt-hour battery. A portable power pack, which uses lithium-ion cells recovered from early first-generation Nissan electric vehicles, powers the on-board equipment.

Nissan’s booth at CES with its interactive displays

The ProPILOT golf ball: Inspired by the ProPILOT 2.0 advanced driver assistance system, Nissan has created a golf ball that always manages to find the hole. At the booth’s putting green, an overhead camera will detect the position of the golf ball and hole. Sensing technology and an internal electric motor will ensure the putt stays on course until reaching the cup – just as Nissan cars equipped with ProPILOT 2.0 can maneuver along a predefined highway route.

Power Selfie: CES visitors won’t be able to drive the Formula E race car on display at Nissan’s booth, but they can recreate the exhilarating experience. With the help of high-powered fans and special effects, the Power Selfie booth records a short video to mimic the acceleration of the 100% electric race car from 0 to 100 kph in a mere 2.8 seconds. Guests will be able to create a GIF that looks as if they’re racing down the track.

Formula E race car: Nissan, the first Japanese carmaker to join the all-electric Formula E street racing championship, will show its new, Japan-inspired livery for the new season.

The Nissan LEAF e+: Nissan LEAF e+ electric vehicle features a powerful motor, long-range, advanced technologies including the ProPILOT driver assistance system (called ProPILOT Assist in the U.S. marketplace), and the innovative e-Pedal mode for one-pedal driving.

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