NOT even the lure and glamor of showbiz could keep Marlon Stockinger away from the race track.
While fellow drivers and childhood buddies Matteo Guidicelli and Ivan Carapiet have shifted gears to pursue acting and modelling careers, the 24-year-old Stockinger remained committed to pursuing his racing goals.
“We grew up together. They used to race with me. We’ve been buddies for a long time,” said the Filipino-Swiss of Guidicelli and Carapiet.
“I just pursued racing. It was my dream ever since, my dream was never to be an actor. I wanted to be a racing driver. So I am where I am today,” he stressed.
Asked who is the best driver among them, Stockinger had a ready answer: “I am definitely the best driver (among us). You can ask them both (Guidicelli and Carapiet).”
He sure is, as the Lotus Formula One team pool member is confident his current campaign in the GP 2 series will yield positive results, leading to a possible stint in Formula One.
“I can literally touch it, smell it and see it (his Formula One entry). It’s on the cusp. It just needs to take the next step,” said Stockinger during the Globe Slipstream 2.0 launch at The Fort over the weekend.
“We are just there. GP 2 is definitely the last level. It’s the last stepping stone toward Formula one,” added the good-looking driver.
Stockinger believes car racing, especially Formula One, has yet to catch the fancy of Filipino sports fans, which is one of the reasons why he is partnering with the country’s top telecommunications company to further promote the sport.
To give his driving show a Filipino touch, the Manileno drove a jeepney complete with passengers in front of a huge crowd at Global City as part of his exhibition.
“I drove it because I know it’s good for promotion. It’s a tradition thing. It’s world famous. You get that as a souvenir on the way out of the airport. It’s pride of the country. So I just relate to the public and making connection with them,” he said.
“Mahirap i-drive ang jeepney, first time ko mag-drive nito,” he said.
Watch interview with Stockinger:
Globe senior adviser for consumer business group Dan Horan believes Stockinger is the closest a Filipino can get to Formula One, owing to the skills of the young driver who ruled the 2012 GP3 at the Asian racing mecca in Macau.
“People know Manny Pacquiao, the boxing god, is a Filipino. Lea Salonga, a Disney singing legend, is also a Filipino. I believe that Marlon is your racing pride,” said Horan, an Australian racing enthusiast.
“When I look at Marlon, he is on the cusp of being something truly amazing for the Philippines. And Globe will be all out in supporting him in his passion to become number one. And that’s important to us. We’ll support him for many years,” he added.
Now on its second year, the Globe Slipstream aims to bring car racing closer to the Filipinos, who according to Horan, are naturally skilled drivers, based on the challenging traffic and streets in Metro Manila.