Miranda proves worth in Thailand
2017 Toyota Gazoo Racing Team Asia winds up second in the Toyota Team Asia Super Endurance 600
Twenty-year-old former karter Daniel Miranda was given two driving stints for the Toyota Gazoo Racing Team Asia which lasted for a total of 2.5 hours in Buriram, Thailand recently.
Every time Miranda was on the wheel, the team was propelled to the top spot in its class.
During one of his turns, he even gave the team a 5-lap lead against the next competitor.
This was the same passion that Miranda showed when he won the 2017 Philippine Vios Cup under the flag of Team Obengers during a four-man neck-to-neck battle coming into the close of the season.
In the Thailand endurance race, Miranda faced a new set of challenges, such as driving on the right side and learning the track only after a couple of practice sessions.
The team also had some technical issues which resulted in an average qualifying finish.
But on race day, all team members performed spectacularly for a group of first timers against a sea of professional racers.
The team drove a specially-prepared Toyota Altis alternately for the 10-hour endurance race.
Miranda was joined by Indonesian Teravate Pukpiboon, age 21, and Malaysia’s Mark Darwin, age 27, who are point leaders of their respective countries’ Toyota one-make race series.
Demas Agil Ramdani, age 25, a professional race car driver from Toyota Team Indonesia, completed the four-man Team Asia Challenge Program.
The program is initiated by Toyota Gazoo Racing, the global motorsport promotions arm of the automotive giant.
In Asia, Toyota actively provides support for various motorsport platforms in their respective country markets.
Countries like Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines have organized a Toyota One Make Race, which has boosted the local racing scene and developed potential champions.
The Thailand Super Endurance 600 was conducted at Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand last Dec. 16, with 55 cars of different makes and model participating.
The 4.5-km two-year-old circuit has hosted some of the most prestigious races in the world, including the World Touring Car Championship and the Asian Le Mans Championship.
The race track is situated beside another new landmark I-mobile Football Stadium, home of the Buriram United Football Team.
The team enjoyed being on the top spot for most of the 10-hour race.
Unfortunately, on the last hour of the endurance race, they suffered a clutch problem which took nine laps to fix. They finished second in their class.
Miranda said he witnessed a difference between Filipino racers and their Thai counterparts.
Because of the big motorsports scene in Thailand, the Thais have a different level of maturity on the race track.
Miranda hopes that the Filipino racers will also achieve the same or even higher level of maturity now that the Vios Cup has become increasingly popular.
“This weekend was very competitive, and it wasn’t easy for all of us mentally and physically, but with the support of everyone, it made it a lot easier for all of us. We were leading the race the first 9 hours, but in the last hour, we had technical issues which made us finish second,” Miranda said.
“Overall, it was a great experience, and we all learned a lot. Hopefully, [in] the next race, we can perform a lot better,” he said.
“First of all, I would like to thank Toyota Motor Philippines, Toyota Thailand, Tuason Racing, and my Team Obengers for the support. It was my first 10-hour endurance race, and it was my first time in the Chang international circuit. I’m happy with my result since I had the pace for the weekend,” he added.
Miranda’s team principal Cosco Oben was also there to give support. “I’m happy with how he performed, and proud that he is representing the Obengers, and most especially, our country. Racing internationally is a good experience for the winners of the Vios Cup,” Oben, a Toyota dealer who supported the One Make Race since the beginning, said.
“We saw a different level of racing, and this will help grow the talents we have cultivated by joining the Vios Cup. It was also awesome to see the Team Obengers name in the international racing scene for the first time,” he added.
Toyota Gazoo Racing Asia hopes this first-ever attempt turns out to be a significant milestone for motorsports in the region.