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August 9, 2017


For car enthusiasts, you must have heard of the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP), the country’s biggest and oldest automobile club. Founded in 1931 as the Philippine Motor Association, the AAP represents private car owners and promotes road safety, motor sport, and green mobility to champion the interests of its members and the motoring public.

To affirm AAP’s  ommitment in developing motor sports, the AAP’s Motor Sport Development Program (MSDP) was formed three years ago. A grassroots training platform, the MSDP aims to introduce young individuals to and train them in motor sports. It covers basic driving skills, understanding motor sport, road safety awareness, official flag and hand signals, safety in motor sport, and motor sport organization among others. Those who finish the program will undergo advanced driving skills training. The program is open and free of charge to driving enthusiasts who are 16-19 years old, physically fit, and have a “chamipon’s attitude”. Twenty years old and above can still join for a fee.

In line with this, Bermaz Auto Philippines, the exclusive distributor of Mazda vehicles and parts in the country, a partner of AAP’s MSDP since the start, renewed the partnership with the formal handover of five brand new Mazda2 S SKYACTIV hatchbacks for exclusive use in the training of future racing talents. It was held in conjunction with the MSDP Module 1 training workshop for young drivers recently at the Megatent facility in Libis, Quezon City.

MSDP participants with Mazda and AAP officers and instructors

Mazda Philippines president and CEO Steven Tan, reiterated Mazda’s commitment not only in discovering new racing talent but also in doing its share in educating the youth on the proper way to drive. “It is really important to start out learning how to drive well,” shared Tan. “It is less useful to be criticizing driving on the road because we all have to do our part in teaching people the right way to drive. We are proud to be associated with the AAP in supporting MSDP. It started off small two years ago and now that the program has taken off, we are very encouraged with the results. And this is why we decided to give AAP five fresh Mazda2 cars for them to use in the MSDP. This is one program that really works,” he adds.

Gus Lagman, president of the AAP, was likewise encouraged by the support Mazda has shown to the MSDP: “We would like to thank Mazda for the success of MSDP. It would not have been as successful as it is today without the generosity of Mazda Philippines. This is not only going to be for motor sports but also for mobility and road safety.”

Steven Tan, Mandy Eduque, and Gus Lagman

“Our mantra is to make motor sports, safe, fair and affordable,” said Mandy Eduque, chair of the AAP’s Motor Sports Committee. “The objective of our MSDP is not only to get drivers interested in racing but more importantly, to make them learn how to drive properly on and off the track. The support of Mazda is very important to the MSDP. The partnership has worked very well for us these past three years. So I’d like to take this occasion to really thank Mazda for the support and we hope to continue this relationship for a long time for the betterment of motor sports,” he explained.

Along with the formal handover of the new cars, Mazda also took the opportunity to introduce the Jinba Ittai Academy. With the support of the AAP, the program aims to share Mazda’s philosophy of connecting the driver with his car to make driving fun and engaging, and also correlate this with proven driving techniques and Mazda’s design and engineering innovations that together enhance car control and elevate driving pleasure. Future plans with the AAP to expand the Jinbai Ittai Academy’s audience are underway.

As a highlight to Mazda’s three-year support for Philippine motor sports, Steven Tan also led the company in appreciating the extraordinary efforts of Edwin Rodriguez, its official race driver in the Philippine Touring Car Championship and the Philippine GT Championship, both top level national racing events. After winning the Philippine GT Driver of the Year and the PTCC Division 3 over-all championship awards for 2016, Rodriguez formally accepted ownership of the championship-winning Mazda2 SKYACTIV racecar that he had been campaigning since 2015. “We want to recognize Edwin for helping build, race and develop a relationship with the Mazda2 which won him races and we felt that the car should belong to him,” acknowledged Tan.

Edwin Rodriguez with Steven Tan

“Thank you so much to Mazda Philippines for believing us as well as giving us this opportunity to compete at the top levels of Philippine motor sports,” Rodriquez said, whose PTCC racing career with Mazda began in the 2013 season in Division 3 (a class he handily won with an earlier model, Mazda 2).

Bermaz Auto Philippines, Inc. includes in its current product line-up the Mazda2 sub-compact sedan and hatchback, the Mazda3 compact sedan and hatchback, the Mazda6 full-size executive sedan and sports wagon, the CX-3 freestyle crossover, the all-new CX-5 five-seater and the all-new CX-9 seven-seater premium crossovers, the MX-5 2-seater sports roadster and the BT-50 pickup truck. There are 19 Mazda dealerships located across the Philippines and Metro Manila.


Photos by Bess Zamora



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