Jomari Yllana back behind the wheel
Racing cars started off as a hobby for actor and politician Jomari Yllana. He found getting into racing could be an awesome hobby, but when he started to learn how to manipulate a car safely at high speeds, it gave him an absolutely different experience.
The 46-year-old Yllana recently went back behind the wheel, it’s a hobby he had parked for almost a decade before deciding to reignite his passion for speed and adrenaline rush.
He gets back into high gear as he roars anew into the racing circuit as the top gun behind rally/race event, the Paeng Nodalo Memorial Rally.
On November 5 and 6 at Subic Bay Freeport, the race paid tribute to Paeng Nodalo, one of the country’s pillars of motorsports, who was behind the legendary Mabuhay Rally. At the end of the racing event, Yllana hit podium finish, winning second runner-up at the Rally Sprint RS Open Category.
Yllana, currently a three-term councilor in Paranaque City, is the first Filipino to score a podium finish at Yeongam International F-1 circuit in South Korea in 2014. He was one of the top three winners in the Super Race Round 8 Championship, Accent One category that gathered top racers from all over the world. His racing team Yllana GTR is also the first Filipino racing team to win in the said event.
Upon winning, the veteran actor declared on Instagram: “Mabuhay ang Philippine Motorsport! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! Para sa bawat Pilipino, saan man sa mundo.”
Yllana recalls having trained for an entire year before entering the Super Race championship.
“Joining it was a dream come true for me, winning in my event was a bonus,” he looks back.
His other racing credits include Philippine National Touring Car Champion Driver, 1996 won Rookie of the year (1st runner up, Toyota Corolla Cup) in 1996, Runner up and Champion driver, Philippine National Touring Car Championship for Toyota Team Toms, 1997-2001, Runner up, Philippine Grand Touring Car Championship, 2014-2015 (Yllana Racing Team).
Yllana’s exploits on the racetrack started when he joined Toyota Team Tom’s in the late ‘90s. The stint led to a thousand and one thrills as he maneuvered high-speed drives at Batangas Racing Circuit and Clark International Speedway.
The actor’s own motorsports outfit, Yllana Racing, with himself as team principal, took part in Philippine Grand Touring Car Championship also in 2013.
Jomari’s eldest son, Andre, has similarly shown interest in the sport. “Hilig din n’ya. But, I tell him racing isn’t just a hobby. You have to be a professional to make it work.”
Jomari, whose full name is José María Garchitorena Yllana, rose to fame as one-third of the 1990s teen group Gwapings together with Mark Anthony Fernandez, Eric Fructuoso, and later with Jao Mapa.
In December, he’s set to stage an acting comeback, playing the part of a politician, in an Erik Matti series, set for international release.
Among his more memorable films as an actor of note in drama are The Healing, Ikaw ang Pag-ibig, Sigaw, Minsan Pa, Gatas… Sa Dibdib Ng Kaaway, Bulaklak ng Maynila, Sambahin Ang Ngalan Mo, Sa Pusod ng Dagat, and Diliryo.