Dai Yoshihara Retires From Formula DRIFT
After 18 years of competing in Formula DRIFT, ENEOS ambassador Dai Yoshihara is retiring from the series that catapulted him to superstar status in order to pursue different motorsport activities. The Japanese drifter made his final appearance in FD PRO competition during the Final Round at Irwindale Speedway, coincidentally the same venue that put him on the map.
It was a day filled with heartwarming moments, as fans and longtime industry friends came together at the House of Drift to show their appreciation of Dai’s skills and humanity. While he’s struggled most of the 2021 season, he’s always determined to put forth his best effort, and to put on a great show for the Southern California home crowd.
As a long time supporter of Dai’s drift endeavors, ENEOS Motor Oil set up camp alongside Turn 14 Distribution and Titan 7 Wheels to showcase the Turn 14 Distribution / Toyo Tires / ENEOS / Evasive Motorsports Tesla Model 3 Pikes Peak race car, as well as Dai’s personal Toyota AE86R — two vehicles which will be used in different capacities in Dai’s motorsports future.
Here’s how Dai’s final FD performance went down:
After qualifying seventh on Friday evening, Dai faced Simen Olsen in the Top 32 on Saturday. As one of four of the remaining original FD drivers, there was a poetic quality to the seasoned veteran leading the series rookie on the first run. With Dai out ahead, he rode high in Outside Zone 1 while Simen chased on a shallower line. Dai filled each zone, keeping at least a car’s distance from Simen throughout this run, which gave him an advantage going into the next run.
As Dai followed Simen, he was able to maintain close proximity from the Outside Zone 1 to OZ2. But as he approached Inner Clip 2, a problem with third gear caused the BRZ to unexpectedly shut down. Unfortunately, this resulted in a zero score for Dai’s chase run, ending his final Formula D appearance quicker than anticipated.
Dai finished 17th in Round 8, and 17th overall for the 2021 Formula DRIFT PRO series. Dai won the 2011 Formula DRIFT PRO Championship.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR DAI?
While it’s bittersweet to see Dai leave FD, ENEOS is very excited to see what projects will emerge in 2022 as he assures us the best is yet to come. He said: “I want to thank all my fans, and especially my sponsors, who allowed me to drive for so many years. To Jim Liaw and Ryan Sage, who put on a great Formula DRIFT series. I’m feeling so many emotions right now, but I’m excited for what’s ahead — it’s scary even, but I have to break away from what makes me comfortable. Thank you so much, everyone!”
Stay tuned to ENEOS social media channels for news about Dai’s latest projects.