June 9, 2023

Fifteen-year-old racing phenom Iñigo Anton wasted no time adjusting to the new normal when the Covid-19 lockdown hit Baguio City.  

The multiple national champion car racer immersed himself almost immediately into the virtual world of simulator racing after a good friend asked him to join the “virtual car race” of Tuason Racing and Phoenix Pulse dubbed, “The Race for Frontliners.” 

This race was also in line with the Phoenix’s Young Drivers Program (YDP) for aspiring racers. 

It was a race for-a-cause for frontliners in which the grand winner is supposed to compete in Europe for the FIA Motorsport Games in October. 

The event raised more than P400,000, which was used to provide meals to healthcare workers and members of the Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, and Armed Forces of the Philippines, among others.  

“Racing on the simulator is close to racing real cars. It is competitive and just like in the real world, the ones who put in the time will get better results. I knew it would be an uphill battle since there are so many good sim racers out there so I really practiced a lot,” Anton said.

After four weeks of qualifying, the top 26 sim racers battled it out for supremacy and Anotn emerged at the top of the podium with Russel Cabrera and Corban Guerrero finishing second and third, respectively.

However, due to travel restrictions, Anton will not be able to race in Europe so the organizers gave him a fully decked out racing rig and other prizes worth P150,000.

His new equipment comes with a seven-star garage sim rig frame complete with an OMP bucket seat, an OMP racing suit and helmet, Logitech G29 racing wheel, and an LG high-definition television unit. 

“It was nice being part of a meaningful event that extended help to our frontliners and I can’t believe that I won. Everyone was so quick and competitive. This experience really made me a better racer,” Anton said.

He also participated in ex-formula 1 driver Alex Yoong’s ERacing Grand Prix Philippine Edition Series where he was thrown straight into the deep end of the pool with the country’s top sim and real-world racers.  

He finished 2nd overall in the championship after dicing it out with the country’s best sim racers like Luis Moreno who finished first and Alex Clapano who came in third.

Mike Potenciano who runs the “Rally of Champions” series in the Philippines joined the band wagon and held a “virtual rally of champions” comprised of four grueling weeks of rally stages with all the top Sim Rally and some real-world rally drivers in the country participating.  

Anton again won the championship and took his first title on dirt in the virtual world of racing.

Besides being a multi-awarded racer having won 10 national championships in different race formats, Anton is also a constant academic gold medalist and finished this school year with top honors. – Harley F. Palangchao