Multi-time e-racer champion seeks Saint Clare's patronage as he guns for real car racing title
Luis Moreno won the second leg of the 2022 Toyota Gazoo Racing Vios Cup Autocross Challenge for Gran Turismo enthusiasts who steered real cars at the Clark International Speedway in Pampanga, Philippines on Aug. 25.
Moreno is gearing up today to win the third and final leg on Nov. 19. If he captures the final leg, he becomes the champion of the Gran Turismo Autocross Challenge. Gran Turismo is a series of racing simulation video games.
E-racing and real-car racing
Moreno had been playing sim racing games since the very young age of six. But he began entering e-racing competitions just 10 years ago, at the age of 20. He's 30 now.
He recalled that he was in a shopping mall when, by chance, he passed by an e-racing competition. Out of curiosity and passion, he joined and finished in second place. It's his first-ever attempt to compete in an e-racing event.
From there, he won sim racing competitions left, center, and right. He won the Formula Renault Asia eRacing Winter Season (Nov. 2020-Jan.2021). He also won the 2021 Toyota GR GT Cup Philippines, and the 2020 ERGP Philippine Edition.
It's the Gran Turismo 2 that had awakened his sleeping passion for driving and racing, he recalled. Gran Turismo 2 is a 1999 e-racing game.
Today, Moreno is a professional esports racing driver at Legion of Racers, a lifestyle and entertainment brand based in Singapore. He's also a global ambassador for Next Level Racing, the world's leading simulation brand.
"I learned how to drive a real car when I was 16 years old," Moreno recalled. "I was a third-year high school student at the time."
He began to drive a real car in 2016 at the age of 24.
After he started participating in real-car racing, Moreno went on to win major awards at small and big e-racing events.
"I had to wait for about seven years before I got more opportunities to do real car racing," he said.
Putting the passion for fast and skillful driving into words is hard, Moreno explained.
"It's exhilarating," he said. "It brings out the excitement because when you're inside the car, tension rises. It comes out naturally."
Never do illegal racing
Moreno rejects illegal racing or street racing since it exposes people to risks. In 2019, a man died while his companion was critically injured when a car allegedly involved in a street race struck their motorbike.
In 2012, a traffic enforcer was assaulted after he attempted to stop a street race in Pasay City, near Manila.
"Accidents can happen not only to the racers involved but also to other motorists and pedestrians," he said. "If we want to race, we have to do it in a controlled environment." With driving competitions in controlled environments, he means authorized racing.
Currently, there is no existing law in the Philippines on illegal racing. Participants in illegally organized races who get caught by authorities are usually apprehended for reckless driving and overspeeding.
They cannot be made to account for illegal racing since there's no law on it.
Most of the people involved in street racing are teenagers, according to local media reports.
He also discourages aspiring drivers from forcing the engine to make intentionally loud noises for fun—or for something else—when driving through residential areas, especially during sleeping hours.
To him, a driver has to be sensitive to the good and safety of others.
He learned to drive a real car from his father when he was only 16. But his fascination with driving had come much earlier. His passion for fast and skillful driving unfolded from playing driving video games when he was still a kid.
"The passion builds up for motorsport," he said. "It's learned subconsciously."
A patron saint for televisions and computer screens
Moreno encourages young e-racing enthusiasts to strike a balance between their hobbies and studies.
"As much as possible, they have to prioritize their studies because it would lead them to opportunities later," he said. "Gaming will always be there, but the study is more important. You only have a limited time to study, and you have to make the most of it."
The third and final leg of the 2022 Toyota Gazoo Racing Vios Cup Autocross Challenge for Gran Turismo enthusiasts will be held at the Clark International Speedway in Pampanga on November 19.
Pampanga is a province in central Luzon, more than 60 kilometers north of Manila. Its landlocked city of San Fernando serves as the Christmas Capital of the Philippines for its homegrown industry of beautiful and huge Christmas lanterns. Thousands of people from across the country and world travel to this city to witness the annual Giant Lantern Festival held in mid-December.
Moreno is a parishioner of the Nativity of Our Lord Parish in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cubao in the Philippines.
He seeks the patronage of Saint Clare of Assisi (1194 – 1253) in his real-driving race campaign. Saint Clare of Assisi is the patron saint of televisions and computer screens. She was an early follower of Saint Francis of Assisi. She founded the Order of Poor Ladies, more popularly known today as the Poor Clares.
He visited Monasterio de Santa Clara in Quezon City, near Manila, before he competed in the second leg of the 2022 cycle.
For Gran Turismo enthusiasts in August, Toyota Gazoo Racing will host the Vios Cup Autocross Challenge.
As an e-racer, Moreno competes in sim racing in front of computer screens.
"The only other preparation I would do would be spiritual," he said. "I will visit the Monasterio de Sta. Clara the day before I go to Clark for the third and final leg."
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.