Race Report: 2017 4 Oras ng Pilipinas
June 3 to 4, 2017, Batangas Racing Circuit Result: Overall Champion, 1st in Class (FM1), 1st Overall
While expectations were greater after the team's strong showing in the 8 hour race six months prior, nobody expected AutoPerformance Motorsport to take home an overall win in its second outing. This was especially true when the team qualified nearly two seconds a lap slower than the pole sitter, Parts Pro Racing. But with a strong strategy, consistent pace, and a little luck got the job done. An epic battle in the closing stages of the race between our own Stefan Ramirez and Parts Pro's Tyson Sy saw them battle wheel to wheel for multiple laps, with Tyson behind trying to pressure Stefan into a mistake. But a flawless performance by Stefan saw him keep the lead all the way until the checkered flag.
A little more preparation before race weekend allowed the team to do some practice runs to have a more realistic idea of our performance over a race distance. That, coupled with the confidence of finishing on the podium in our first race, buoyed the team going into race day.
The Philippine Endurance Challenge held its first ever 4-hour race, and for the event, the driver lineup consisted of Stefan Ramirez, Francis Aguila and Enrique Hormillo.
In what would become a team tradition, we began the weekend with a pre-race group prayer to give thanks for being able to live our passion and to ask for the safety of all competitors.
Stefan did his best in qualifying, clocking a respectable 1:59.053, good for P2 behind the heavily favored Parts Pro team. Despite the big difference in lap times, the team knew it would be a long race and that anything could happen.
Enrique took the first stint, delivering consistent lap times for the first hour of the race. But the sweltering heat, and lack of a hydration pack took its toll. He pulled in a little earlier than expected, and collapsed on the garage floor with exhaustion. With Enrique laying on the ground, incoming driver Francis had to get in and belt up without any help or feedback. Still, with the Smart Fuels Honda Civic suffering a blown engine, it was slowly becoming a two-horse race, and the team was in P2 when the car was passed to ace driver Stefan.
Some engine issues forced an extra pitstop for race-leading Parts Pro, which allowed Stefan to claw his way back and eventually take the lead. A thrilling wheel-to-wheel battle between Stefan and Parts Pro's Tyson Sy went on for several laps, bringing the crowd to its feet. The Civic's superior corner entry speed and nimble handling was countered by the M3's braking advantage and torque out of the corner exit.
After a display of truly amazing skill, Stefan crossed the finish line in P1, securing the team's first ever endurance race win, being the first to ever win the event. This victory established AutoPerformance Motorsport as a team to look out for in the world of Philippine racing.
BMW AutoPerformance 2017
EZ Ligaya - Manager
Jay Jay Pompa - Assistant Manager
Paolo Arespacochaga - Driver Assistant and Logistics
Jhay-R Dejesica - Team Mechanic
Richard Pino - Team Mechanic
AutoPerformance Ph | Brembo
Aguila Auto Glass
Cameltow Towing Service
Video by Dominick Galauran and Francis Aguila
Photos by Dominick Galauran