Words by Ken Tamayo | Photos courtesy of the Ford Motor Company
 
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The latest machineries on the NASCAR circuit have traded looks for outright aerodynamic performance. And besides those stickers representing faux headlights and grills, there's hardly any way to tell these cars apart as they whiz around an oval at over 200 mph (300 km/h). Thus, for the 2013 season, Ford is taking a totally different approach for its next title contender.
 
Forgoing the modern cookie cutter body shell, the blue oval brand is bringing back the essence of “stock car racing” in favor of a sleeker and more identifiable silhouette. After a bit of sculpting and wind tunnel testing, their new Sprint Cup car now more or less resembles the all-new 2013 Fusion, which was launched at the 2012 North American International Auto Show.
Words by Christopher Kho | Photos courtesy of Toyota Motorsport GmbH
 
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Succeeding the iconic TS010 and TS020 race cars that competed in the 90's, Toyota is finally marking its return to the Circuit de la Sarthe in 2012 with the TS030 Hybrid. Developed by Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG), the same people behind the Panasonic Toyota Formula 1 team, the TS030 will be the first hybrid entry into the FIA World Endurance Championship after Peugeot announced their immediate withdrawal from competition last week. This means that it will all be up to the Japanese team to challenge Audi's dominance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Words by Christopher Kho | Photos courtesy of the Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.)
 
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After 14 stages covering 8,377 gruelling kilometers over gravel, mud, and sand in three different South American countries, Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel in his X-raid MINI Countryman ALL4 Racing emerged victorious and took his 10th overall Dakar rally win in Lima, Peru. With this win, Peterhansel indeed is the master of the Dakar after winning it six times on a bike (1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, and 1998) and now four times on a car (2004, 2005, 2007, and 2012). He is joined on the podium in second place by teammate Joan “Nani” Roma from Spain in the sister MINI ALL4 making it a one-two finish, while Giniel de Villiers in the South African-built Imperial Toyota Hilux V8 surprised all with a third place finish on the pick-up's debut. 
 
Back in January 1, 2012, 443 bikes, quads, cars, and trucks took off from the starting line at the coast of Mar del Plata in Argentina for the 33rd running of the Dakar rally. 15 days later, only 249 of those who started made it to the finish line in Lima, earning the Dakar the title as the toughest off-road race in the world.
 
 
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The Automobile Association Philippines (AAP), the country's motorsports authority, has just published the complete Philippine motorsports calendar for 2012 covering almost anything and everything on four wheels. Under its affiliated clubs, AAP sanctions all motorsport competitions in six disciplines: circuit racing, karting, slalom, car rally, rally cross, and 4WD off-rod racing. 
 
Big races in store for this year are the Philippine GT, Philippine Touring Car Championship (PTCC), RMSC's National Slalom Series, Hillclimb Series, RallyEKross, National Karting Series, and Asian Karting Open Championship (AKOC). These championshipo will visit the country's premier race tracks such as the Clark International Speedway (CIS), Batangas Racing Circuit (BRC), and Carmona Race Track (CRT).
Words by Christopher Kho
 
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The 34th edition of the Dakar rally is already well underway as 443 bikes, quads, cars, and trucks race through the deserts of South America. This year's route of what is considered to be the most demanding off-road race in the world will cover 8,300 gruelling kilometers, starting from the coast of Mar del Plata in Argentina on the 1st of January 2012, over the Andes Mountains into Chile, and finish in Lima, Peru on the 15th. And with last year's winner Volkswagen sitting it out in the sidelines this year, it's going to be a fierce three-way battle between MINI, Hummer, and Toyota for the top spot on the podium.
 
On its biggest Dakar campaign ever, X-raid is heading the field with five MINI ALL4 Racing machines this year. The newly developed MINI's are built ground-up with a tubular steel chassis and carbon fiber bodywork based on the Countryman. Powering this four-wheel-drive Monster is a 315hp 3.0L twin-turbo diesel sourced from BMW. Leading the pack of MINI's is nine-time Dakar champion Stéphane Peterhansel, with fellow drivers Nani Roma, Krzysztof Holowczyc, Leonid Novitskiy, and Ricardo Leal dos Santos piloting the other four.
 
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Not all race series are created equal, but Circuit Showdown is racing ahead of the pack as the country's fastest-growing track day event. Combining the Touring Car series and Time Attack competition, this is the new breeding ground for the future racing champions of the Philippines. Now on its third year, Circuit Showdown is gearing up with the 2012 championship race schedule.
 
2012 Race Schedule
1st leg  March 3, 2012  Batangas Racing Circuit
2nd leg      April 14, 2012  Clark International Speedway 
3rd leg  May 5, 2012  Batangas Racing Circuit 
4th leg  June 2, 2012  Clark International Speedway 
5th leg  July 7, 2012  Batangas Racing Circuit 
6th leg  August 4, 2012  TBA 
7th leg  September 1, 2012      Batangas Racing Circuit 
8th leg  October 6, 2012  Clark International Speedway
Photos courtesy of Chevrolet Europe
  
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With the 2011 WTCC manufacturer's title in the bag, it was left to Chevrolet's top two drivers to duel it out for the driver’s championship. Yvan Muller went to the historic street circuit of Macau with a mere 20-point lead over teammate Rob Huff. And with a total of 50 points up for grabs over the weekend, this would prove to be a fight to the finish in the WTCC's season finale. 
 
In a fierce battle, Huff kept the charging two-time WTCC champion at bay to win both races. Starting from pole in race one, Huff tried to pull away from the aggressive Muller, but was unable to shake off the Frenchman, who stuck by his bumper until the chequered flag. In race two, Huff hustled to the lead from P3, while Muller, who started from P8, managed to sneak past up to P3 to keep his championship hopes alive.
 
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After a successful outing in a two-seater Formula 1 car last October, Gary Thompson is stepping up the ranks when he tests for Formula Nippon at the Fuji International Speedway next week. Gary will be driving a category Swift FN09 chassis  powered by a 3.4-liter Toyota V8, which is faster than GP2, and only a shy slower than the modern day Formula 1 equipment. 
 
The 19-year-old Dubliner, who competed in the Japanese Formula 3 Championship for the past two seasons, will get behind the wheel of the powerful single-seater on November 28 and 29. Gary will once again be driving for SGC by KCMG, the same team whom he ran with for the 2010 and 2011 Formula 3 season.
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