MANILA, Philippines – Retired Brazilian Formula One (F1) racer Felipe Massa donned the tracksuit one more time, hopped on an electric kart, and drifted and zigzagged across a compact track like it was still a full-sized F1 car.
However, it was like watching a race tape on mute as all the sounds of roaring engines and screeching tires were absent with the silent e-kart.
But that didn’t make it any less inspiring for the young Filipino racers who watched the motorsport great in action at the the Federation Internationale de I’Automobile (FIA) e-kart demo at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds, on Wednesday, June 6.
“I think if you work really hard, if you believe in your talent for the sport, I think everything is possible especially for the [Filipino] drivers [who have] a dream,” said Massa.
Felipe Massa e-karts like it's still a full-size F1! @RapplerSports pic.twitter.com/7vBECsJWNz— JR Isaga (@JRnalistic) June 6, 2018
The 37-year old Massa grazed a few cones, but drove a crisp, tight lap overall. He set a lap time of 35.8 seconds for the other teenage competitors to beat.
Of course, none of the youngsters managed to drive faster than the ex-professional racer, but some finished as close as two seconds away from his time.
Massa, who also serves as president of the Commission Internationale de Karting-FIA (CIK-FIA), is in the country for the FIA Motorsport Conference to inspire the next generation of drivers.
This marks the first time Europe-based FIA hosted a conference in Asia.
“I want to try to put all the ASNs [national motorsport associations] together to try to simplify so many different things – because now we have so many different categories and so many different engines,” Massa said in a separate interview with Autosport.com on Tuesday, June 5.
“In my view it was always a little bit difficult to understand why you have so many different things in karting,” he added. “I want to give this message to all the ASNs that we need to be together and be very close and make things easier than it is.”
Massa will leave tomorrow, June 7, as the conference wraps up, but not before promising to return with his family to “know more about this beautiful country.” – Rappler.com
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