Philippine Masters – Track Focus
The Philippine Masters is back and is live in Manila today with a track best described as ‘challenging’. Located in the capital city, the very 3D looking track is the creation of top Philippines driver Edward Sio, one of the people behind the Philippine Masters since its inception in 2015. Having to move the track location a few hundred metres from its previous home, one of the stand out features of the move is the massive three story driver stand. With the new track built during Covid restrictions, the reason for the massive structure was to meet the then guidelines on the spacing of people so each floor was used as pit area to ensure everyone was spaced apart. Made from the same dirt of the original track, the build took 45-days. Building the track to how Edward wanted it and rolling it to a flat surface, they then dug up around a foot into the top layer to allow for the all important bonding of final race surface. Giving the 30 degree plus temperatures in Manila, just spraying the top layer would not last as the top layer would eventually break and reveal a dusty dry dirt. Instead they soaked the loose 1-foot deep top layer with a mixture of molasses and glue before rolling to the finish they wanted.
As his inspiration for the track, Sio explained that Philippine drivers don’t travel internationally to races but they are keen to learn and try improve their driving so they brought that challenge to them with this busy lap. Starting with a very simple track in 2015, he added ‘we have tried to make the track a little more difficult each year’ adding ‘the locals like it and are happy to be learning from it’. He definitely delivered on the difficulty with this the most challenging yet as official confirmed by back to back reigning World Champion Davide Ongaro. This is the Italian’s third visit to the track. Approximately 60 metres at its widest point, the track is built on a plot of land which Sio describes as being shaped like a baseball field. With a lot of elevation change over the lap, this presented its own challenges during the build with the equipment struggling in sections. As part of the facilities the track has a hobby shop located in the lower level of the drivers stand and for this weekend the race has hired marshalled meaning drivers are spared standing in the hot sunny conditions between racing.
Asked his thoughts on the track, Ongaro replied, ‘The most difficult (track) so far. It’s fun and difficult.’ He added, ‘It’s a busy lap so you can’t relax’, pointing out the back section as the most difficult element of the lap. He explained it was challenging to get the timing correct for the sequence of jumps. Another World Champion contesting the 2023 Philippine Masters, Robert Batlle described the track as ‘super hard’. Adding ‘it’s so difficult’, he said, ‘for the medium level driver maybe it’s too much, the 1-hour final is going to be very difficult’. Asked what was making the track so challenging, he said, ‘it’s the angle of the jumps from the driver stand. They are really hard to judge’. That said the Spaniard did go onto pay the track the biggest compliment possible by saying, ‘it would be nice to have a Worlds on this type of track’. Highly experienced and well known Asian driver Ryan Lee called the track a ‘smaller version of C-Netic’ adding ‘I like this type of track, the surface is very smooth so you can get a good rhythm.’
Track Name – Circulo Verde Offroad Track
Host – Quezon City RC Car Club
Country – Philippines
Location – Manila
Direction – Anti-clockwise
Surface – Dirt treated with molasses & glue mixture