Pit+Paddock Civic Type R TCR at Laguna Seca, 2024 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge

Pit+Paddock Civic Type R TCR Finishes P6 at 2024 IMSA Laguna Seca

Round 3 of the 2024 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge brought ENEOS ambassador Dai Yoshihara and the Montreal Motorsport Group to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for a two-hour enduro at the circuit’s 11-corner, 2.2380-mile layout. Driving the Pit+Paddock Civic Type R TCR alongside Karl Wittmer, the team qualified for and finished the race in P6.

Although he has previous time attack and drift experience at Laguna Seca, this would be the first time Yoshihara would go wheel-to-wheel against IMSA competitors. With a repaved surface, even the most experienced drivers required a bit of calibration as the first full course yellow occurred within the first ten minutes of the race. His inexperience in wheel-to-wheel combat proved uniquely valuable as he climbed to P4 when the green flag waved again. As the race passed the hour mark, Yoshihara dove into the pits for a driver change alongside tires and fuel; Wittmer resumed race duty in P6.

Wittmer soldiered on despite a persistent power steering issue and several off-track excursions, and with 30 minutes remaining, his lap times were nearly a second faster than the car in P1. The last lap TCR battle kept us on the edge of our seats, as there was only 1.5sec between P2 and P5. Without the power steering issue, it’s likely Wittmer would’ve been in the middle of a solid fight.

Pit+Paddock Civic Type R TCR blasting down the corkscrew at Laguna Seca, 2024 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge
Dai Yoshihara patiently awaits battle, 2024 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge

“I was really happy with the car during my stint,” said Yoshihara. “It’s only a matter of time before we convert our effort into even better results.”

“Our team’s effort and execution outweighed the result,” Wittmer explained. “We had the car and team, but didn’t have luck on our side. Incredible job by Dai in his opening stint, making up ground and challenging the top 3 lap after lap!”

We had issues with rear grip, causing the bike to be really physically tiring to ride,” Quartararo explained. “Hard braking made my arm painful, so the last ten laps I wasn’t able to brake properly and had to slow down. We need to figure out rear grip and turning so that I can feel better on the bike and become faster.

Quartararo sits 12th in the overall standings with 25 points; Rins climbs up to 19th with six points. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP is now ninth in the team championship with 31 points, and Yamaha holds fourth in the manufacturer championship with 27 points.

ENEOS in focus, 2024 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge

Yoshihara, Wittmer and MMG take on the fourth round of the 2024 Michelin Pilot Challenge at Mid-Ohio from June 7-9, 2024.

Photos and additional info: courtesy of Pit+Paddock