Race Report: 2018 8 Oras ng Piliipinas
December 1 to 2, 2018, Clark International Speedway
Result: 2nd Overall, 2nd in Class (RP)
When it was announced that endurance events of 2018 would be considered a season championship, and that the overall winner would be decided by the total number of laps done over the course of the year, the team immediately made changes. The first was to abandon our traditional FM1 category and move up to the more competitive RP category. While it would be a more difficult class tom compete in, the move also allowed the team to do more lightening works to the car, in order to maximize the number of laps we could accomplish. While we jeopardized a chance for a class win, the true goal was to finish ahead of our two main competitors - H Racing and CarPorn x PartsPro - in total laps completed. The plan worked. While a tremendous showing by team Shell Helix Ultra saw them beat us by just 20 seconds, our 2nd overall finish, with 182 laps - enough to win the championship, becoming the first team to ever win a season title in endurance racing.
Once again, the Curse of Clark hit the team. In three races in the Clark International Speedway, the team suffered pre-race problems: oil starvation issues in 2016, engine issues in 2017, the practice crash in the 2018 12-hour race. It seems that every time the M3 competes in Clark it suffers some sort of catastrophe. This was no exception. Every time the team faces adversity, however, it pulls off a miracle to get on track. Once again, this was no exception. A blown engine suffered during qualifying stopped short Stefan's session, but not before he put the car into P5 overall, 3rd in class.
Another Herculean effort by the mechanics and crew allowed the team to get to the starting grid, with Stefan taking the first stint. Attacking early and often, Stefan quickly got the team to P2 before passing the car over to Francis Aguila.
A solid stint kept the team in the podium places, but Francis could not keep from losing a position to the faster H Racing Honda Civic.
George Apacible took over, and took P2 back, while closing the gap to the race-leading Shell Helix team.
Up next was SJ Park, who kept pace with the race leader.
Stefan took a second stint to close out the race, and put in a furious charge to close the gap to the race leaders, crossing the line P2, just over 20 seconds behind the eventual winner.
It wasn't the resulted we wanted, but it was the result we needed. Of course, a win is what every race team aims for, but the primary goal this weekend was to finish ahead of our two main competitors for the first ever national championship for endurance racing - H Racing and CarPorn x PartsPro. Despite great efforts from both of our rivals, and our traditional pre-race engine nightmares, we prevailed. Our drivers were able to put in the laps we needed, our mechanics were able to produce a car that produced and lasted, and our crew was able to keep the team going strong. A tremendous showing by team Shell Helix Ultra saw them win by just 20 seconds, keeping us with a 2nd overall finish. That, however, was good enough to take home the season title, the first time a team was crowned as champion for endurance racing.
AutoPerformance Victor Hardware - 2018 8 Oras ng Pilipinas
Sung Joon Park
EZ Ligaya - Manager
Jun Magno - Race Engineer
Glenn Zamora - Crew Chief
Pen Alunan - Assistant Manager
Jay Jay Pompa - Timing
Lord Allen Francisco - Timing
Caloy Santos - Pit Wall
Paolo Arespacochaga - Driver Assistant
Jeremy San Diego - Logistics
King Farcon - Team Mechanic
Remilson Remoroza - Team Mechanic
Jazper Relanes - Team Mechanic
AutoPerformance Ph | Brembo
Aguila Auto Glass
Atlas Real Estate
Cameltow Towing Service
AG Tune N Lube
Video by Mark Uichico, Dominick Galauran and Francis Aguila
Photos by Dominick Galauran