July 19, 2018, 3:54 am
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Mazda is bringing fun back to driving

BY Raymond G.B. Tribdino

“In every aspect of life, it is important to start if right,” Steven Tan, Mazda Philippines president and CEO said as he explained the essence of the Jinba Ittai philosophy, in relation to the company’s continued support for the Motor Sports Development Program (MSDP) of the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP). 

Starting it right means correct training when it comes to driving. Mazda believes the key of a truly safe drive is when the car and driver are one. 

According to the philosophy of “Jinba Ittai,” this symbiosis happens when the car feels like a natural exension of the driver. And the principle behind it ensures the best and possibly the safest driving experience. 

“This is precisely what we at Mazda want drivers to learn. We believe that starting right means knowing how to drive a car like it is a natural extension of your self,” Tan further explains.

Mazda does not own the “Jinba Ittai,” philosophy. The phrase defines the unity of horse and rider which is pertinent to “Yabusame” or the Japanese mounted archery. The smoothness in acceleration and braking, gear shifting and weight shifting significantly change both safety and driveability. 

“We want to bring back the fun in driving. Fun in driving is an engineering challenge,” Tan points out. 

“To be able to put something together, to deliver the fun of driving to the driver is an engineering feat, and Mazda has worked hard to implement the newest technologies and the Jinba Ittai principle to ensure the best driving experience in all its vehicles,” he explains. 

To put sense into the event and the relationship between motorsports and driving better—the objective of the MSDP-AAP-Mazda partnership the Mazda CEO 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. 

“Motorsports is a discipline. And so is driving. Both require discipline, an understanding of the road  It must be done right and done well to win. It is not only about driving fast but also about driving in unison with the car. We at Mazda believe that creating this unity between car and driver is key to making better drivers,” Tan said.

At the launch of Module One of the 2017 MSDP, the two organizations renewed their partnership for the AAP’s Motor Sports Development Program with the formal handover of five brand new Mazda2 S SKYACTIV hatchbacks for exclusive use in the training of future racing talents. 

“This is the essence of what we want to do. An entry level car like the Mazda 2 is also fun to drive—maybe even more in a way than the more powerful cars—because it is where that symbiotic relationship developed over time can start,” Tan


“When the car and driver are in perfect harmony,” Tan said, “driving is fun.”

Along with the formal handover of the new cars, Mazda also took the opportunity to introduce the Jinba Ittai Academy. 

This “school” of driving experience aims to to share Mazda’s philosophy of connecting the driver with his car to make driving fun and engaging. Connected to the MSDP, it enhances driver skills through 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. 

“It is really important to start out learning how to drive well,” shares 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.

For his part 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,” Lagman said in his short speech.

Mikko David, Mazda’s Public Relations Manager, and a seasoned race driver himself said that the MSDP is intended to be a powerful force in developing better drivers, as well as a solid motorsports program that is based on professionalism and putting extra focus on safety.

“But is fun that should be paramount,” Mikko emphasizes. 

“If there was such a program many years ago when I was starting to race, then Philippine motorsports could have developed much faster and created a bigger number of enthusiasts.”

Mandy Eduque, Chair of the AAP’s Motor Sports Committee, affirmed AAP’s commitment in developing motor sports through the MSDP, as well as confirmed David’s observation.

“Our mantra is to make motor sports, safe, fair and affordable,” says Eduque. 

“The objective of our Motor Sport Development Program 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.” 
Eduque, multi-awarded rallye driver thanked Mazda for its solid support.

“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 said. 

“This is a logical activity for Mazda,” says Vip Isada, race driver and head trainer of the MSDP. The “Coach” as he is known is a 10-time Philippine rally winner, spanning three decades of racing. His programs are widely accepted as both useful on and off the track.

“I say logical because all of the techniques being taught at the MSDP apply perfectly to the Jinba Ittai philosphy of Mazda.” Coach said adding that making good drivers both on and off the track is the real objective behind MSDP.

“When you make better drivers on the track, you make great drivers on the road who are sensitive to road conditions, mindful of other drivers and respecting the common rules of courtesy needed to drive safely and stress free on the road.

As a highlight to Mazda’s three-year support for Philippine motor sports, appreciating the extraordinary efforts of Edwin Rodriguez, its official race driver in the Philippine Touring Car Championship (PTCC) and the Philippine GT Championship, both top level national racing events the company turned over the race car he was driving. 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,” shares 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, “ says Rodriquez, 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.
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