Updated: Oct 13, 2022
We get a lot of questions when it comes to the Toyota Gazoo Racing Vios Cup. That’s mainly because motorsports are not exactly the type of sports we’re used to. With the rise in popularity of Netflix’ Drive To Survive, more people are being interested in Formula One than ever. But the race format of Formula One is not exactly the same as the Vios Cup, which seems to confuse a lot of viewers.
That’s alright. That’s what Skramble’s here for. Be sure to read this article to catch more of the action when you watch Leg 2 of the 2022 season of the TGR Vios Cup in Clark International Speedway.
Entrance is free.
1. The TGR Vios Cup is a One-Make Series
The TGR Vios Cup is one of the only few one-make series in the Philippine motorsports scene. A one-make series means that all the cars are the same. The engines are stock 1.5-liter 2NR engines, the same ones you would see on a regular top-of-the-line Vios on the road. The cars come out of the dealership ready to race, equipped with a TRD roll cage, TRD coilovers, a fire extinguisher, a kill switch, a limited-slip differential and a set of OMP seat, harness and steering wheel.
Unlike in Formula One, where teams get to develop their cars from ground up as long as they are within the sporting regulations, you can’t make changes to your car in the Vios Cup. Every participating race car is scrutinized before and after a race to make sure they’re running the allowed weight limit, ride height, camber angle, fuel (Petron XCS) and oils. Even the sticker placements are checked!
This means all the drivers race with one car, with no advantage over other cars. In a one-make series, it is noticeable that the cars are always neck-and-neck during every race. The only advantage of one driver over another is their ability to drive a low-powered race car around Clark International Speedway under pressure.
A Formula One race consists of 20 race cars in the same race with drivers competing for points determined by their finishing positions. The TGR Vios Cup is similar to Formula One in the same context, but despite only having one race to host all 20 cars, the drivers are classified based on their skillset.
The Promotional Class can be seen as the Novice Class. Drivers are usually put in the Promotional Class if they are new to motorsports. Here, the drivers are mostly competing for their right to qualify in the Sporting Class. Usually, the top 3 finishers of a class are promoted to a higher class. The cars in the Promotional Class are required to run a minimum weight of 1100kg.
The Sporting Class can be seen as the most competitive class in the Vios Cup. Here, it is normal to see drivers coming from other series immediately participate, just like how Joaquin Garrido, a karting champion, was able to skip the Promotional Class and race against Inigo Anton, who also immediately joined the Sporting Class. Sporting Class cars are also required to run a minimum weight of 1100kg. The cars in the Sporting Class have little to no difference than with that of the Promotional Class.
The Super Sporting Class is the topmost class in the TGR Vios Cup. Only those who have finished in the top 3 of the Sporting Class are eligible to race in the Super Sporting Class. In the Super Sporting Class, cars are allowed to run a minimum weight of 1050kg. This means they are allowed to swap their hoods, trunks, remove their air-conditioning and speakers, and other parts to achieve the minimum weight. You would also see some cars with air-ducts on the windows with tubes leading to the driver to keep them cool during a race.
In previous seasons of the TGR Vios Cup, the races for the Promotional Class, Sporting Class, and Super Sporting Class were held separately.
In the 2021 season, all three classes would race on the same grid. The cars are only identifiable according to class based on the colors of their car numbers, where Orange was for Promotional, Yellow was for Sporting and Green was for Super Sporting.
In the current (2022) season, the Promotional Class has their own race schedule while the Sporting Class and the Super Sporting Class would race in one grid. Regardless of whether or not they share a grid, drivers are battling for points in their own respective classes.
3. Reverse Grid
The concept of reverse grid seems to confuse a lot of people. But believe us, it’s not as confusing as it seems. Reverse Grid does not mean cars would race around the track in the opposite direction, nor does it mean that the cars would race in reverse gear. Reverse Grid simply means that the finishing order of the race cars would be reversed and will be used as the starting position for the next race. However, the Reverse Grid in the Vios Cup is only up to P6.
This means whoever finishes P6 will start the next race on pole position (P1).
But if the Super Sporting Class and the Sporting Class are racing in one grid, does this mean that Reverse Grid will be applied to the overall finishing position?
The answer is no. Reverse Grid will be applied per class. This means that a Sporting Class driver could finish P7 overall but would still start at the back of the grid because they finished P1 in the Sporting Class.
4. Weight Ballasts
Because this is a one-make race and we’re all about neck-and-neck, shake-and-bake, on-track action, weight ballasts ensure that the faster drivers who always end up on the podium are given a harder time. As we know, weights slow a car down (or anything in general). That’s why every time a driver finishes on the podium, weights are added to their car.
A driver finishing first would mean an additional +30kgs would be added to their minimum weight. Accordingly, a P2 finish would earn them an additional +20kgs and a P3 finish would add +10kgs to their minimum weight.
So if a driver keeps winning, would they just keep adding weights until the car is undriveable?
The maximum weight ballasts a driver could run on their cars is 60kgs. This means if a driver wins two consecutive races, they’re pretty much already running maximum weights.
If a driver with weight ballasts on their car finishes outside of the podium positions (P4 and below), their weight ballasts would reduce by -10kgs on the next race.
5. The TGR Vios Cup is an FIA Accredited Series
Us, Formula One nerds, are entirely familiar with the FIA. It is the governing body of Formula One. On top of that, the FIA is also the governing body of international motorsport events. It comes as a surprise to many, but the FIA is also very much involved in the TGR Vios Cup. And yes, this means drivers would need a racing license supplied by the Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP) and the FIA to participate in the races.
6. One Season Every Year
This seems to confuse a lot of people too. Formula One fans are used to seeing one Formula One race per race weekend. Every race would determine the number of points a driver would earn and would be tallied by the end of the season to determine the winners of the Driver Championship and the Constructors Championship.
In the TGR Vios Cup, one season of the Vios Cup happens over three legs (or three rounds). Each leg would hold a Free Practice day, One Qualifying Time Trial (QTT) session, and three races over a race weekend (Thu-Sat).
The TGR Vios Cup schedule for the 2022 season is as follows:
July 1, 2022 - QTT & Race 1
July 2, 2022 - Race 2 & Race 3
August 19, 2022 - QTT & Race 4
August 20, 2022 - Race 5 & Race 6
November 18, 2022 - QTT & Race 7
November 19, 2022 - Race 8 & 9
7. Double Points on the Last Leg.
Formula One has only seen the Double Points pointing system once in the 2014 Abu Dhabi GP as an experiment. They would later revert back to their normal pointing system in the following seasons.
In the Vios Cup, giving double points on the last leg is another way to shake up the grid, as if the weight ballasts and reverse grid was not enough yet. The regular pointing system of the vios cup is as follows:
During the third leg, on the last three races of the calendar (Race 7, Race 8 & Race 9), the drivers will be awarded twice the points as they normally would get. This means winning the race would merit a driver 40 points, finishing P2 would merit them 30 points, and so on.
The last leg usually means drivers give everything they’ve got because every point counts and there’s a lot of time between the last leg and the next season to repair their cars. So if you’re looking to watch exciting races at the TGR Vios Cup, be sure not to miss the last leg of the season.
Okay, But Why Would I Want To Watch The TGR Vios Cup?
Well, first of all, it’s free. Why wouldn’t you want to watch a race that’s free? But if that does not convince you yet, there are other reasons you would want to come over to Clark International Speedway and watch the TGR Vios Cup.
The TGR Vios Cup makes for some really exciting racing. Being a one-make series and having the weight ballasts, reverse grid and double points means anything can really happen on the track.
If you watch Formula One for the drama, the TGR Vios Cup is nothing short of that, either. Of course, you’re probably only going to hear victorious and happy stories about the Vios Cup, but circuit racing is still a high-adrenaline sport, and when competitors are filled with adrenaline and the stakes are high, this usually means there should be some drama that will follow.
In the Philippines, the TGR Vios Cup is one of the most prestigious racing events you could come across. It’s a well-organized, FIA-accredited event with celebrities like Troy Montero, Daniel Matsunaga, and Fabio Ide competing in the circuit races, and other celebrities like competing in the Autocross events too. Oh, did we not mention the autocross series of the Vios Cup?
Clark International Speedway also offers rental karts in their Go Kart track. In between races, there’s nothing stopping you and your friends to go Go Karting in Clark. Plus, if you haven’t been to Clark International Speedway before, you’ll realize it’s one of the most instagrammable places you’ll come across in your life.
Here are some other questions we get about the TGR Vios Cup:
Isn’t the Vios Slow?
Compared to other race cars the cars used in the TGR Vios Cup may seem slow, because they are. But these cars aren’t meant to go against other race cars– it’s a one-make series!
Have there been any accidents in the Vios Cup?
Accidents? Yes. The level of competitiveness in the Vios Cup is so high, accidents happen in almost every race. Despite this, there has not been any major injuries resulting from a race in the entire history of the TGR Vios Cup.
Do the cars have air-conditioning during a race?
The TGR Vios Cup Cars participating in the Promotional Class and Sporting Class should be equipped with air-conditioning. However, during a race, drivers turn their air-conditioners off because if they didn’t, they would be sacrificing horsepower. It could also ruin the compressor, so to avoid any complications, they would turn their air-conditioners off when they’re on the track.
So, yes, it does mean it’s incredibly hot inside the car during a race. Imagine racing in the Philippine weather (around 32-40ºC) in a race car with no insulations and no air-conditioners.
To combat this, some drivers like to open their windows a bit during the race while others believe it slows their car down due to drag.
Some drivers would also turn their fan on when it’s raining in order to avoid fogging. That’s why you would hear some drivers saying they love driving in the rain.