A showroom-stock Mazda 2 SKYACTIV hatchback survived a grueling 8-hour race to win the Manufacturer’s Cup of the 2016 Philippine Endurance Challenge. Driven by seasoned racer Clifford Certeza, along with Bermaz Malaysia marketing professional Ian Khong and motoring journalist Iñigo Roces, the Team Bermaz Mazda-run sub-compact completed a total of 160 laps, two more than the its nearest competitor.
“This is truly a race won not only with a superior car and talented drivers but also through the efforts of a solid team of passionate Mazda Philippines employees who devoted their time and effort to this race,” shared Steven Tan, President and CEO of Bermaz Auto Philippines (BAP), the exclusive distributors of Mazda vehicles in the country.
“The Mazda2 SKYACTIV is continuously proving to be an excellent platform for grassroots racing,” adds Tan. “With its SKYACTIV-engineered suspension, chassis and engine it managed to capture this year’s Division 3 100-horsepower class in the 2016 Philippine Touring Car Championship with Edwin Rodriguez at the helm. Now, even in purely stock form, complete with seats and all trimmings, it has again endured the extremes of a pure racing environment to come out as a worthy platform to celebrate driving.”
Aside from its sharp and nimble handling, which allowed it to finish the 8-hour race with only one set of tires, the Mazda2’s famed fuel-efficiency likewise played a crucial role in extending its time on the track. “Our strategy was to maximize the range available to the Mazda2’s standard fuel tank,” says Tan. He explains, “Staying out longer on the track gave the team an advantage during the closing stages of the race as it allowed our winning car to build a two-lap gap over the competition.”
Team Bermaz Mazda fielded two Mazda2 cars for the race. Car number 17 was the 2016 PTCC championship-winning Mazda2 Division 3 racecar piloted by PTCC Champion Rodriguez, BAP General Manager for Customer Service Ramil de Vera, and Press and Customer Relations Manager Mikko David during the PEC race. The second car, number 18, was an all-stock Mazda2 manual transmission-equipped hatchback with Certeza, Khong and Roces taking the car to the finish.
The Team Bermaz Mazda pit crew was composed of Bermaz Auto Philippines Technical and Service Field Specialists as well as Filipino Bermaz Malaysia technicians, all of which regularly perform evaluations on customer cars. Parts availability was also crucial as wear and tear components were kept in stock for the race. Tan adds, “It is but natural that we make use of the skills and talents of our BAP employees and Bermaz technicians. This experience not only elevates the company personnel’s skillset but it also provides an excellent outlet of their passion towards the Mazda brand. It allows us to live and breath the Jinba Ittai experience which is inherent in every Mazda vehicle that our customers drive.”
Team Bermaz Mazda likewise provided logistics support to the Automobile Association Philippines PEC race campaign and its pool of AAP Motorsports Development Program scholars who drove another Mazda2 in this year’s endurance race. The three-car complement of Team Bermaz Mazda and AAP-MSDP completed a total of 345 laps around the 4.2-kilometer circuit.
The 8-hour PEC race began at 8:50 in the morning at the Clark International Speedway with 29 cars on the grid. Composed of four divisions encompassing various car set-ups, the annual race once again proved to be a true test of equipment reliability, driver skills, teamwork and strategy. A total of 123 drivers drove in the race with all but 5 cars seeing the checkered flag.
Bermaz Auto Philippines, Inc. is the exclusive distributor of Mazda vehicles and parts in the Philippines. Its current product line-up now includes the new CX-3 small crossover, the Mazda2 sub-compact sedan and hatchback, the Mazda3 compact sedan and hatchback, the Mazda6 full-size executive sedan and sports wagon, the CX-5 compact SUV, the CX-9 seven-seater SUV, the MX-5 2-seater sports roadster and the BT-50 pickup truck. Mazda Philippines ranks first in the 2016 J.D. Power Philippines Customer Service Index Study which states that Mazda is among the best in the country when it comes to service quality, service initiation, vehicle pick-up, service facility, and service advisor performance. There are 18 Mazda 3S dealerships located across the Philippines and Metro Manila – Mazda Greenhills, Mazda Pasig, Mazda Quezon Avenue, Mazda North EDSA, Mazda Alabang, Mazda Makati, Mazda Cavite, Mazda Sta. Rosa, Mazda Pulilan, Mazda Pampanga, Mazda Dagupan, Mazda Cabanatuan, Mazda Tarlac, Mazda Negros, Mazda Cebu, Mazda Iloilo, Mazda Cagayan De Oro and Mazda Davao.
Team Bermaz Mazda Driver Lineup
Mazda2 SKYACTIV PTCC Division 3 Racecar
2016 Champion – PTCC Division 3/GT100
2015 3rd place – Division 3/ GT100
2014 Champion- Philippine GT100 and PTCC Division 3
2013 Champion – Philippine GT100 3rd place – PTCC Division 3
Ramil de Vera
General Manager – Customer Service Operations, BAP
2016 3rd Place –Philippine Touring Car Championship Division 3
Press & Customer Relations Manager – BAP
2004 2nd Over-all – Class B Super Saloon Series
2001 – 2nd Over-all – Philippine Junior Touring Car Championship
1998 – 1st BF Goodrich Enduro
1998 – 2003 – Full-time touring car race driver
Mazda2 SKYACTIV Stock – Manufacturer’s Cup
Race Engineer – Mazda2 SKYACTIV Division 3 Racecar
1995-1997 Circuit Racing – Mitsubishi; Karting
National Jet-ski Champion
1980s – 1990s Mazda rally driver
Marketing Professional – Bermaz Auto Berhad
2008 1st National Ralliart Cup -Australia 1st Class B – 1600 MAM Rally X
2005 1st Malaysian Rally Championship 2001+ Class 1st R3 Shoot Out Malaysian Autocross Championship
2004 1st Malaysian Rally Championship 2001+ Class
2010 – 2013 – Driver Instructor; event stunt driver
Motoring Editor – Manila Bulletin
2014 Vios Cup Media Class
2012 1st Michelin Pilot Experience Sepang, Malaysia
2006 Ford Focus Cup – Media Division