- Ride With Dai is a ride-along experience created by Pit+Paddock that gives our followers an opportunity to ride passenger with Dai Yoshihara in his 1,000hp Subaru BRZ.
- The first three stops of Ride With Dai included Wicked Big Meet in Connecticut, Formula DRIFT Seattle in Washington, and Gridlife Alpine Horizon in Colorado.
- Subiefest at NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, CA, marked the fourth and final stop of the Ride With Dai drift ride-along tour.
- With the support of presenting partner Mishimoto, Dai Yoshihara gave more than ten ride-alongs inside NOS Events Center’s quarter-mile oval racetrack.
- A Ride With Dai finale wouldn’t be complete without a few surprises, including Gymkhana-like stunt driving and a ride-along for pro skater and rally driver Bucky Lasek.
RIDE WITH DAI
At the end of 2021, Dai Yoshihara hung up his Turn 14 Distribution x Sparco race suit as he said goodbye to Formula DRIFT after 18 years. While Dai was retired from competition, the 2011 champion was far from calling it quits when it came to driving. Dai would continue to compete at Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and Global Time Attack this year, claiming the unofficial titles of “Fastest EV” at Pikes and “Fastest S2000 in history” at Buttonwillow Raceway. Dai also further developed his image as an influential figure in the aftermarket world, joining our team at Pit+Paddock and becoming an ambitious project car builder, having revealed three unique builds at this past SEMA Show. There was still a void when it came to drifting, though, which is why Pit+Paddock came up with the idea of “Ride With Dai” – a drift ride-along experience that we could share with our loyal followers and make the thrill of pro drifting more accessible to all enthusiasts.
We would select passengers from our hosted social media contests and live raffles at events. The Ride With Dai campaign kicked off with a demo reveal of Dai’s revamped BRZ. Then, the first stop took place at Wicked Big Meet, the nation’s largest Subaru gathering. Next, we made our way to the Pacific Northwest, where Dai returned to Formula DRIFT, not as a competitor but a demo driver offering ride-alongs across two days. The third round brought us to Pikes Peak International Raceway in Colorado for the motorsport festival Gridlife Alpine Horizon. Our fourth and final stop of Ride With Dai would be none other than Subiefest in Southern California, the West Coast’s largest Subaru meet.
Subiefest California is one of the world’s longest-running and most widely attended Subaru events. Breaking ground in 2006, the gathering draws more than 7,000 Subie fans each year. It’s one of six events put on by SubieEvents that Subaru USA supports. We had the setup of our first Ride With Dai at SubieEvents’ Wicked Big Meet, and it was no joke as we saw more than 10,000 spectators come out from all over the Northeast. Subiefest in SoCal would live up to the same hype. This year’s Subiefest relocated to NOS Events Center, which typically accommodates massive music festivals. What we liked about the venue, though, was a quarter-mile oval track that would be the perfect setting for the finale of Ride With Dai presented by Mishimoto.
Pro rally driver Scott Speed was the only other headliner offering ride-alongs, and he was experiencing intermittent technical problems. This circumstance meant Dai had extra time to squeeze in additional passengers. He was also given free rein of the entire stadium, where we witnessed some uncanny driving maneuvers such as 360-degree spins, maneuvering around tight obstacles, and even some gymkhana-like scenes as he performed close-quarter donuts and figure-eights around brave photographers. Having witnessed all the Ride With Dai ride-along experiences ourselves, Subiefest was the wildest and most wicked to watch! The icing on the cake was watching Subaru rally driver and pro skater Bucky Lasek hop in for a ride-along, which made for an awesome recap video.
SEASON 1 COMPLETE
After four rounds of Ride With Dai, we can’t help but look back and be thankful for all the fun experiences we’ve been able to share with more than 50 ride-along passengers. It hasn’t just been a dream come true for the riders but also everyone on the Pit+Paddock team. We want to thank our main sponsors that got us there: MBRP, Mishimoto, ENEOS, Yokohama Tire, Vibrant Performance, and Turn 14 Distribution. In addition, we owe our friends at SubieEvents, Formula DRIFT, and Gridlife a huge thank you — along with the man himself, Dai Yoshihara.
Talks are now starting up for the 2023 Ride With Dai calendar. We are aiming to add more stops and hit a couple of new regions. Which ones those are, you’ll just have to wait and see. Stay tuned and we’ll have more details as we enter the new year.