Saturday, February 16, 2019

Passion for cars, racing

BUSINESSMAN-sporstman Dr. Guillermo "Willie" P. Torres Jr. drives us around his racing career throughout the years.

Being the president of the University of Mindanao and a chief executive officer of an enterprise, he manages to race despite a very tight schedule. He is 61.

He clinched the Philippine GT300 Championship title last July 21, 2015 at the Clark International Speedway.

Torres, during an interview with SunStar Davao, bared that they organized an event called the Hot August Races way back 2003 when he also started his drag racing career.

Torres said cars has always been his passion.

"I love cars since the 70's, everytime meron Philippine Grand prix nung araw sa Ortigas, I watched it. Ever since talaga, I love racing, I love cars," Torres said.

Torres also won several championships during his early years in drag racing.

"I already won 11 championships, among them were the 2006 Hot August Races Quick 8 championship at Speed City in Davao and the 2006 Mayor Tommy Osmeña Cup in Cebu City. I actually won a Mitsubishi Evo IV during one of those events," he recalled.

Torres, however, took a break from competition in 2010 but continued to organize racing events in Davao.

"I am still organizing the Hot August Races every Kadayawan. Our club I think is on its 11th year na and we are actually having an event on Aug. 13 and 14 at Speed City," he said.

From drag racing, Torres shifted his career to circuit racing and been participating in the Philippine GT Car Championship since 2011.

"I started in lower class in GT130 and GT200 at Clark International Speedway and Batangas Racing Circuit using 1999 HONDA SIR," Torres said, adding that in 2013, he upgraded his license at the office of the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) allowing him to race in GT300.

"In GT300, we can use 300 horse power cars," Torres said.

Torres also shared that he had a car accident during one of his races that sidelined him for almost a year.

"Na total-wreck ang Mitsubishi Evo IV ko and I broke three of my ribs (laughing). Accidents are there talaga, but I just enjoy racing," Torres said.

He came back in circuit racing on 2014 with his new circuit car Mitsubishi Evo VIII. "Na-revive namin ulit yung total-wreck na Mitsubishi Evo IV tapos sinasali nila sa Flat Out race series pero hindi na ako nag da-drive."

With a cupboard of glaring trophies, Torres said being the oldest racer in the country, he currently has no more intentions of winning.

"Racing for me now is for leisure na lang and I just want to have fun, if manalo man, I consider it already as a bonus. I already became a champion, tapos na ako, I think that's enough."

Torres left for Manila July 22 for the 2016 GT Philippines championship held over the weekend.

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