2023 TC America COTA Race Proves Challenging for Dai Yoshihara
Rounds 5 and 6 of the 2023 TC America series brought ENEOS ambassador Dai Yoshihara and the Pit+Paddock / ENEOS Civic Type R TCX to the Circuit of the Americas (COTA). It’s a track Yoshihara’s familiar with, having proven success competing with the Evasive Motorsports Tesla Model 3 at the 2022 GTA Super Lap Battle.
High temperatures were a challenge for the grid, and ever-changing weather conditions made it difficult to dial-in the perfect setup. While the track configuration never changed, it became a different animal every time a session went hot.
Dai’s experience at COTA immediately proved valuable during Friday practice, and despite a heavy ballast penalty to keep the field competitive, he was only 0.2sec off the fastest pace. He took third place in Practice 1 behind Colin Garrett and Lucas Catania.
During the next practice, Yoshihara set an impressive pace in the ENEOS-protected Civic Type R at the front of the pack, but Catania clocked the fastest time, only 0.223sec ahead of Dai in the closing stages of Practice 2.
Cool, cloudy weather arrived in time for Qualifying, and Dai’s car control skills were impressive during moments of downpour (thanks to his drifting experience), making all the difference in securing pole position by 0.339sec with a 2:26.001 lap time. However, the BMW M2 CS Cup TCX competitors still excelled at COTA in comparison to the FWD Type Rs in class, and Dai’s pole position placed the Pit+Paddock / ENEOS Civic Type R on a steeper incline than P2 and on the defensive from the jump.
Dai attacked Saturday’s Race 1, defending his position against a pack of M2 CS Cup cars eager to overtake him. Midway through the 40-minute session, his competitors came from all sides, and despite his best efforts to hold them off, was passed by Catania, Garrett and Maddie Aust. With two minutes left, the Civic Type R’s front left tire punctured, forcing Yoshihara down the order and out of points yet again.
Sunday’s Race 2 brought the sun, providing hot, grippy sections, mixed with cool, greasy portions of the circuit from the previous rain. These conditions made it difficult for Yoshihara to climb up the order, even after the track surface became more uniform. Dai eventually finished sixth.
“I struggled to find the pace I needed at the beginning of the race,” Yoshihara said. “COTA was still a great learning experience, and I’m already looking forward to competing at VIR!”
COTA RACE 1 RESULTS – TCX
|1||Lucas Catania||Rigid Speed Company BMW M2 CS||2:24.023|
|2||Colin Garrett||Rooster Hall Racing BMW M2 CS||2:23.960|
|3||Maddie Aust||Fast Track Racing BMW M2 CS||2:23.533|
|4||Adam Gleason||Fast Track Racing BMW M2 CS||2:24.004|
|5||Kyle Loh||LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic Type R||2:23.982|
|6||Joseph Catania||Rigid Speed Company BMW M2 CS||2:24.044|
COTA RACE 2 RESULTS – TCX
|1||Colin Garrett||Rooster Hall Racing BMW M2 CS||2:24.007|
|2||Maddie Aust||Fast Track Racing BMW M2 CS||2:24.058|
|3||Kyle Loh||LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic Type R||2:24.211|
|4||Kenny Schmied||AOA Racing BMW M2 CS||2:23.976|
|5||Joseph Catania||Rigid Speed Company BMW M2 CS||2:24.192|
|6||Dai Yoshihara||VGRT Honda Civic Type R||2:24.618|
2023 OVERALL STANDINGS – TCX
Dai heads to Virginia International Raceway for the Rounds 7 and 8 of the TC America championship from June 16-18, 2023.
Photos: courtesy of Pit+Paddock