At only fifteen years old, Filipino karting sensation Tara Laconico has seen a lot of the world from behind the driver’s wheel. Only last year, the incoming OB Montessori 8th grader achieved what she considers as her greatest professional feat to date—qualifying for the Sodi World Finals held at the Lignano Circuit in Venice. In previous years, she vied for the Rotax Max Asia Championship in Malaysia, as well as the Sodi World Series in the United Arab Emirates.
All these accomplishments have made Tara a rising star in the local karting scene, and she is nowhere near slowing down. In fact, she is just getting started on a new chapter of her racing career. Only recently, she was selected as one of the trio representing Phoenix Petroleum at the Giti-Formula V1 Challenge. It’s a feat she earned by being one of the top contenders of the Phoenix Young Drivers’ Program, the homegrown petroleum company’s search for the next generation of Filipino racing superstars.
Tara was among 300 young racing hopefuls tested not only for their driving skills, but also for their personalities and proficiency in facing the media. At the end of the search, Tara was selected as a stand-in driver for the Phoenix Formula V1 racing team. She will be driving alongside Raffy Rabe, the Phoenix team’s main driver, and Patrichk dela Rosa, her fellow alternate, for a four-hour endurance race scheduled in November at Clark, Pampanga.
For Tara, being part of the Phoenix Formula V1 team is not just another achievement as a racer, but a personal milestone, as well. Her participation in the Phoenix Young Drivers’ Program marks the first time she has driven a race car on a track. Now that she has made it to the Phoenix racing team, Tara is grateful for the opportunity to further her racing career, going from karts to race cars.
“Now that I am a competitor for Formula V1, even as a reserve driver, I am ready to take the next step in my racing career,” she said. “I will try to help in every way I could. I really want our team to do well. We will show people how age doesn’t matter.”
She also believes that like age, gender is not getting in her way to becoming a topnotch driver. “With our helmets on, the first thing you notice isn’t whether you are a boy or girl. It is whether you are fast or not,” explained Tara.
For now, she intends to keep practicing for her upcoming races, which means doing laps over and over. Tara believes she has a long way to go but she is optimistic because she is in a good spot, especially with solid support from Phoenix. Her practice has greatly improved and she has felt a big difference racing on the power of Phoenix PULSE Technology found in Phoenix fuels.
Every time she has a good practice run, going into the pit always gives her a good feeling. As she works further to fulfil her dreams, Tara only has this to say, “I will keep my head down and work hard until you see me on the podium.” Consider it fair warning that the country and the rest of the world will see more of this young Filipino racing talent.