Dai Yoshihara Hangs Up His Visor After 18 Years Of Formula DRIFT Competition

Photography: Daniel Nikkhoo

  • Dai Yoshihara is one of the longest-running drivers in Formula DRIFT, having competed in 128 events over 18 years.
  • Dai stood on the podium 28 times, won 8 rounds, and claimed the 2011 Formula DRIFT Championship.
  • After qualifying 7th at Irwindale Speedway, his final tandem battle would be against Simen Olsen of Norway, who later went on to win the 2021 FD PRO Rookie of the Year.
  • While his professional drifting career is in the history books, Dai plans to expand his horizons as a professional driver and still race at events such as Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, 25 Hours of Thunderhill, and Global Time Attack.

“Thank you, Dai!” is what thousands of longtime fans yelled from the grandstands at the House of Drift after Dai Yoshihara had put up his last fight in a battle against Rookie of the Year Simen Olsen. It was a bittersweet ending as Dai undoubtedly wanted to put on a good show after qualifying 7th overall at Irwindale Speedway in what would be his last hoorah as a competitor in Formula DRIFT; however, a tough chase run led to an early exit in the round of Top 32. Despite this, the love and support for Dai was through the roof as he waved farewell to what was an unforgettable career in FD, having battled against the greatest drivers in the sport for 18 years and in 128 total rounds. Dai’s FD career is highlighted by winning the 1st overall championship in 2011, an achievement that only ten drivers have obtained since FD started in 2004. He will also be remembered in the drift world by the vehicles he piloted, from the Pacific Rim Motorsport Nissan S13 Silvia to the Discount Tire/Falken Tire Nissan 240SX and, of course, the Turn 14 Distribution Subaru BRZ.

What’s next for Dai? The end of his pro Formula DRIFT career may be over, but the future is very optimistic as he pursues new opportunities as a professional driver, brand ambassador, and auto influencer. You can already count on him returning to one of the world’s toughest races – the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Having claimed a victory in 2020 in the Evasive Motorsports Toyota 86; however, having left much left on the table with the Tesla Model 3 in this year’s competition following electrical failure. He also has his eyes set on breaking new class records at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill and Global Time Attack. We can’t also forget that he’s building some fun project cars like his F22C-swapped Mercedes 190E and Civic Type R-powered Toyota AE86.

When one door closes, another door opens, which couldn’t be any more true for Dai Yoshihara. We thank you for entertaining us going sideways in FD for nearly two decades, but we can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in the coming years!