A first-ever Formula 1 car finally hit the roads of Manila on Saturday, driven no less than by a fast-rising Filipino racer.
Lotus F1 Junior Team driver Marlon Stockinger roamed the grounds of Luneta and the SM Mall of Asia aboard one of three Lotus F1 car brought in here as part of the two-day event `Manila Speed Show.’
The 22-year-old Stockinger, who’s currently seeing action in the 2013 World Series by Renault, was joined in the morning and afternoon affairs by Davide Valsecchi, the 2012 GP 2 champion and current a Lotus F1 test driver.
Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and Customs commissioner Ruffy Biazon were among the fortunate ones to have experienced how it is like to ride inside an elegant machine that boasts of a 750 horsepower engine and revs up to 18,000 rpm.
Lim and Biazon rode in the F1 race car driven by Valsecchi himself.
“A fantastic experience. I hope to race against Marlon in the future, but that’s only in my dreams,” said Lim following his ride of a lifetime.
Also getting a feel of the F1 ride was William Herrera of Red Rock Travel, who earned the privilege via the raffle held during the formal press launch of the event on Friday.
“A ride in the Lotus F1 two-seater was a dream come true. We all know about the acceleration, braking, and cornering capabilities of these cars. So much has been written about it but nothing will prepare you for the actual G-forces after you get strapped in. The ride was violent and at the same time exhilarating and it was worth it,” said Herrera.
The event is also a big boost to the promising career of Stockinger, whose skills were noticed last year by Lotus team principal Eric Boullier after the Filipino won the Monaco leg of the GP 3 series that eventually led to his inclusion to the team’s F1 junior team.
Asked about Stockinger’s shot at getting a seat with the Lotus F1 team, Boullier curtly replied, “It’s as good as your guess.”
Still, the Lotus team principal stressed that being part of the Lotus junior team doesn’t guarantee anyone a seat in the Formula 1 world championship – considered as the pinnacle of motorsports.
Former sporting director and renowned veteran F1 journalist Peter Windsor, who came over with the small F1 contingent, said that corporate backings other than talent is needed for Stockinger to reach his goal.
A drift and kart demos, along with a motorcycle stunt show later capped the exhibition at the Mall of Asia grounds.