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EMPOW ON THE TRACK — The thrill — and realization — of taking a premium car for a spin

On 30 September 2023 at the Batangas Circuit, my officemate Edwin Jake Bayawa and I represented Daily Tribune’s Blast in the Empow Track Day Batangas, along with a handful of media drivers and vloggers

Photographs by Edwin Jake Bayawa for the Daily Tribune

I own a 29-year-old manual car. That makes me knowledgeable about driving on the road. And everything that deals with it.

But it’s a different story when I’m driving a brand-new, top-of-the-line car like GAC Motor’s Empow. It’s all power and I get to drive it down a race track.

On 30 September 2023 at the Batangas Racing Circuit, my officemate Edwin Jake Bayawa and I represented Daily Tribune’s Blast in the Empow Track Day Batangas, along with a handful of media drivers and vloggers.

It was an entirely different experience.

First, the atmosphere was electric. Throngs of people were there examining three Empow units and marveling at their looks and road capability.

Franz Decloedt, brand head of GAC Motors, welcomed the participants in the event whose purpose is to experience Empow under racing conditions.

 

FRANZ Decloedt, brand head of GAC Motors, ushers the participants who get to have the thrill of driving Empow on the track.

The track exercises were designed and supervised by a team of professional instructors led by multi-awarded racing pro Georges Ramirez.

 

RENOWNED car racer Georges Ramirez explains to the participants how to best enjoy the Empow Sports Sedan.

They explained to us what’s in store for us when we finally get to drive the cars. The units have different colors, namely moonlight gray, elegant black and matte fighter green.

 

THE GAC Empow comes in different colors but offers the same luxury driving experience.

Then they introduced to us the four modes of the Empow. The Eco-mode, Sport-mode, Comfort-mode and Sport Plus-mode.

Now the Sport Plus-mode is something. It pushed me down the seat with its power. And the accelerator is extra sensitive.

But that’s getting ahead of the story.

The first thing they made us do was make a 50-meter burst, probably to catch how fast the Empow responds. They instructed us to make a sudden brake which automatically engaged headlights and hazard lights.

It was to test car-follow response and shift-time from Eco to Comfort modes. We also tested driving very slowly up to as fast as 100 miles per hour so we can now feel the shift to Comfort mode.

Then we drove via slalom to test the car’s handling and steering which was smooth and effortless. It felt great. And I also learned the proper way of holding the wheel. The two-handed way of holding and moving it. After all these years I was doing it wrong.

Actual driving followed. It took me below 20 seconds to circle around the famous BRC. I used techniques like slow-in, fast-out. There was an instructor riding with us to make sure we maximized the Empow’s features.

It was a great experience for me as a driver. The design alone is a delight.

It’s comparable to Honda Civic because of its sporty design. The interior also has a sporty seat. Very relaxing and comfortable. The controls are all digital with the windshield having a six-way power adjustable to the driver’s preference.

The front and rear windows have one-touch up and down (anti-pinch). It also has power sunroof and leather-trimmed steering wheel.

The EMPOW represents GAC Motor’s pioneering efforts to usher in a new era of driving pleasure in the Philippine market.

It boasts a remarkable 1.5L turbo-powered engine, harnessing the cutting-edge MegaWave technology developed in-house by GAC Motor.

This powerful engine enables the EMPOW to accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in just 6.95 seconds, paired with a 7-speed DCT transmission and an impressive 270 Nm of torque.

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