Ivan Kailer Diaz: So young, so fast
SO young, so fast, so...perfect?
Ivan Kailer C. Diaz is a 17-year-old teener, who should be playing studying in school, playing video games in his spare time at home and malling with friends on weekends.
Instead, this De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Architecture student is a mean circuit racer on the verge of a historic sweep of the 2015 Philippine Grand Touring Championship.
“The goal is to win the final legs of the 2015 series, Races 11 and 12. These two races are very important for me as this will set a record for a perfect season,” said Ivan, who started racing at the age of 13, fueling his new-found love through go-kart racing with the help of Arvin Drueco and Coach Edgen Dy-liaco.
But it was short lived because his low grades in school had his parents telling him to discontinue his new passion in order for him to concentrate on his studies. But after a year, to Ivan’s surprise, his dad Lennel Diaz, a two-time Golden Wheel Awardee for drag-racing, allowed him to pursue his need for speed via his father’s former passion.
“It was fun racing with the drag racers. That time, we met Coach Bong Perez who introduced us to circuit racing,” said Ivan.
The shift to circuit racing bore instant results.
Ivan placed 2nd Runner-Up in the Division 3, GT100 class of the 2014 Philippine Grand Touring Championship, highlighted by his first-place finish in Race 5 and 2nd Runner-Up feat in Leg 3 of the series; his 1st Runner-Up placings in Races 7 and 8 of Leg 4; a 2nd Runner-Up achievement in Race 9 and a championship in Race 10 of Leg 5; and another championship run in Race 11 and a 1st Runner-Up ranking in Race 12 of Leg 6.
His circuit-racing feats netted him an award for the sport in the 12th Golden Wheel Awards.
This season, Ivan has leveled up his performance, scoring a sweep of Races 1 to 10 of Legs 1 to 5 of the ongoing PTCC.
“A sweep of the final two races will be a sweet triumph for me,” said Ivan, who plans to take part in the faster GT150 division next season, a challenge he doesn’t shy away from.
“I chose racing because I love speed, cars and the adrenaline pumping into your vein,” said Ivan, who is backed by MJCD Trading and Construction, Mohspeed, Bracing, Mitasu Oil, Yellowspeed, Richmond Auto Parts Ltd., Carsunlimited, Jobs Connect, Jobs Finder, A1 Advertising, Kopirotu, Jengsports, Flowout Paint, Calibre Autorefinishing and Bullzkicks.
Like many champion racers before him, Ivan wants to improve his craft further.
“I haven’t achieved anything yet and so I would like to practice more and follow the instructions of Coach Bong Perez. If budget permits, I would like to have a formal training abroad, and maybe even race internationally,” said Ivan, who idolizes Formula 1 superstars Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton because of their “versatility on the race track.”
Ivan may be a racing champion, but he still devotes much of his time with his education.
“My parents always tell me to study first, before anything else. I train twice a month on the track, thrice a week cardio on the gym, and when completion comes, we make sure that we practice two days before the race,” revealed Ivan, who admitted that racing made him “more friendly, responsible, organized, and disciplined especially on the road.”
Ten years from now, Ivan sees himself “still racing on the track and teaching my skills to others.”
“I like to thank God for keeping me safe in my races, my parents Lennel and Jane Diaz, Coach Perez for the techniques and suspension tuning, Morris Miranda for building and tuning the car, Kenneth Bayani, also for tuning the car, my Mohspeed and Bracing crew, and of course, my fellow GT100 drivers Joginder Sin, Rhaffy Latorre, and Edwin Rodriguez, and all of my sponsors,” said Ivan.