Tuason Racing School taking virtual path as world heads into ‘New Normal’
Santino Honasan on May 22, 2020 02:21 PM
“My biggest take away from all of this is simply that there is always an opportunity, you just need to have your eyes open big enough to see it and take action,” - JP Tuason, Tuason Racing School founder and CEO. (Photo courtesy of Tuason Racing School)
Thanks to the COVID-19 virus, the Philippines, and basically the whole world has stepped into an age wherein physically distancing, sheltering at home, and online human interaction has become the norm, part of the so-called new normal.
One of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic has been sports of all kinds. Practically all sporting events require a certain number of people moving within each other at any given moment, which has effectively made holding sporting events, especially ones with fans, a no-no for the time being.
While some companies likely have no other choice but to ride out the crisis, others have begun to transition into embracing the ‘new normal’, so to speak, and one such company is Tuason Racing School, an institute in Philippine motorsports.
“Tuason Racing School started in 1999 to train race enthusiasts to drive go karts,” introduced founder and CEO JP Tuason. “We have since expanded to training in touring cars, single seaters and super bikes. We also run road safety seminars and train over 50,000 people a year.”
Much like most businesses, the Tuason Racing School was also forced to temporarily close their doors, but Tuason hopes to be able to open things back up by the second half of 2020.
“Currently the track and our office is closed,” Tuason said. “Hopefully [we can get] back on track with the races by September.”
“In the meantime, we have moved to an online platform for virtual racing and a podcast to provide racing and automotive content,” he added.
Modern technology, Tuason says, has been a massive part in keeping the school stay active, even during the quarantine.
“With the development of our online races and podcasts, technology has played a very big role. We have been able to do both the races and podcasts remotely without even one physical meeting with our team.”
As such, the Tuason Racing School was able to organize a series of virtual racing events entitled Race For Frontliners to help raise funds for the brave men and women in the front lines of the battle against the dreaded COVID-19 disease.
The first two rounds of the online races have been able to raise over PHP 100,000 which is set to be donated in the form of food packs to beneficiaries like the PNP Maritime Group and the Philippine Coast Guard.
“The lockdown has made us tap into our creative side to launch the virtual races,” Tuason explained. “It is envisioned to help the grassroots of motorsports and help develop a larger fan base.”
For the virtual races, Tuason Racing makes use of the Playstation 4 video game console as well as the video game ‘Gran Turismo Sport’, the popular racing video game franchise’s most recent release.
“We use PS4 and GT Sport as a platform and run wheel to wheel races of up to 10 drivers,” Tuason explained further. “Multiple race heats are ran on a day to determine the winners. Races are very similar to the real thing.... the first to the finish line wins!”
While the virtual races are indeed a great way to quench one’s thirst for speed while also being able to help, Tuason sees it as a possible legitimate avenue for training for the time being.
“I believe that it will take a long time to get back to where we were three months ago,” Tuason expressed. “Having said that, our transition to the virtual world will compliment our on-track activities and possibly be a training ground for real racers.”
Moving forward, Tuason says that virtual classes will indeed be part of the Tuason Racing School’s offerings.
“Yes! This is actually in the process of development already.”
As the world heads begins to slowly head into the new normal, Tuason believes that motorsports will eventually make it’s way back to the way it was before, given that races are also an important part of product development for manufacturers in the automotive industry.
“I think motorsorts will return to what it was before because it is the development platform for almost all car manufactures trying to introduce new technologies.”
Tuason adds that it also helps that motorsports usually practices social distancing.
“Unlike other sports, car racing allows the driver to be alone and socially distant from other competitors.”
It might be a while before things return to normal, the normal what people were used to before the pandemic. Being able to adapt and transition will definitely be a big help for companies in order for them to stay afloat, or even thrive.
With the steps that they’re taking in terms of transitioning into the virtual and digital realm, Tuason Racing will likely continue to thrive, even in the ‘new normal.’
“My biggest take away from all of this is simply that there is always an opportunity, you just need to have your eyes open big enough to see it and take action,” Tuason concluded.