Gono knocks on big stage door
Local champ takes on Formula Vita at Fuji Speedway
The kid who’s got seasoned racing veterans shaking their heads in disbelief a few years ago because of his astounding racing skills can add another notch to his helmet, with his last race garnering another significant first, not only for himself, but also Philippine motorsports, and the country.
Luis Gono, literally spent his 20th birthday on the racetrack last weekend to compete in Formula Vita of the Fuji Champion Race Series at the Fuji International Speedway.
Gono, who started karting at a very young age, grew up being able to get extensive experience with different motorsports disciplines, the most significant being crowned the Toyota Vios Cup’s first ever overall champion.
This is not a small feat considering he was only 15 years when he beat seasoned pros and veterans during the 2014 season.
Fast-forward to just a few days ago, Gono went wheel-to-wheel against Japanese pro Formula Vita drivers on one of the most famous racetracks in the world.
By winning the top spot in the Giti-Formula V1 in the Philippines, Gono earned the spot to race for Formula Vita via his TRS Bitcoin V1 Racing Team.
Though it’s Gono’s first time to race at the Fuji International Speedway, he recently competed at the FIA Intercontinental Drifting Cup in Tokyo.
On last Saturday’s practice session, Gono did well by clocking a good time that was at the top 5 of 29 racers.
He quipped that while he was still getting used to the Formula Vita car provided by Tuason Racing and West Racing Japan, the racetrack was optimal, and the cool weather was ideal for the car’s performance.
During the next day’s race, he placed 10th in the qualifying run.
Some adjustments were made by the race mechanics based on his driving feedback, but after the actual race of 10 laps on the 4.5-km 16-turn Fuji speedway, Luis Gono finished at 12th position out of 29.
He managed to race his way to eighth position at one point, but a near mishap caused by another driver whom he avoided cost him four slots down.
It was still a strong finish despite having less than a day to practice with his car and the racetrack for first time.
As the only Filipino who competed against 28 Japanese drivers, it was an impressive way to represent our country in a race series that has a bright future in motorsports.
What made this race possible for Gono is a strong partnership between the premier racing school in the Philippines, Tuason Racing School (TRS), and West Racing Cars Japan, which designed and manufactured the Formula Vita and V1 cars.
Of course, credit goes too for the full support of Carlos Gono, Luis’ Father, who’s behind the distributorship of Clean Fuel and Motul, the team’s main sponsors.
TRS also aims to bring the Formula V1 race series to other Asean countries, and this last race at the Fuji Speedway is a good boost to kickstart it.
Congratulations, Luis Gono and everyone in and behind the team.
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