The Pit+Paddock Civic Type R TCR finished P8 at the fifth round of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challege, 2024 IMSA Watkins Glen

Pit+Paddock Civic Type R Takes P5 at 2024 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Watkins Glen

The midpoint of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge took place at the Watkins Glen Esses 120, a 3.377-mile circuit in upstate New York that hosted the first and only F1 Grand Prix in the United States for decades. Here, ENEOS ambassador Dai Yoshihara and Karl Wittmer showcased their impressive pace and preparation with the Pit+Paddock Civic Type R TCR.

Qualifying P2 behind the sister Montreal Motorsport Group that took pole position (the third consecutive race where one of the team’s cars started from pole), Yoshihara hit it hard following a full course caution on the formation lap, taking the lead within the first five minutes before a second safety car was sent out due to a competitor’s race-ending puncture. MMG brought him in for a quick stop at 1:33 and went back out in P9, yet still ahead of the TCR Championship leader, the #17 JDC-Miller Motorsports Audi, which pitted at the same time. Yoshihara received a penalty for speeding in pit lane but quickly served it and reemerged P10 before another competitor crashed with 1:13 on the clock. At the hour mark, Yoshihara found his way up to P3.

Scene from the paddock, 2024 IMSA Watkins Glen
Dai Yoshihara helped MMG qualify P2 for the main race, 2024 IMSA Watkins Glen

Wittmer took over near the 54-min mark, maintaining position until a technical issue forced him down the order. With 30 minutes remaining, he gathered enough pace to climb four positions, and finished the race P8.

This was my first time driving at Watkins Glen, and it was so scary in the beginning,” Dai said. “But once I got used to the track, it was a lot of fun: there’s high-speed, banked corners, and loads of grip. You can carry more speed than you’d think. I had a great stint and learned a ton, and I think I found my new favorite track!

Practice session, 2024 IMSA Watkins Glen
All systems GO, 2024 IMSA Watkins Glen

Motorsport can be cruel sometimes,” said teammate Wittmer. “I’m extremely proud of the team’s progression and hard work, so we’ll keep our heads high and stay focused for the next round in Canada!


Yoshihara heads to the Chevrolet Grand Prix, round six of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park from July 12-14, 2024.


Photos: courtesy of Pit+Paddock