- The Pit+Paddock Civic Type R TCX, under the expert control of Dai Yoshihara, grabbed pole position honors in qualifying and earned the Crowdstrike Fastest Lap award during the race weekend.
- Dai’s strong form proved consistent in race trim; he built a nearly 2.5s lead over his nearest competitor until mechanical issues forced his retirement with 25 minutes left in Race 1.
- Fellow VGRT teammates showed promise throughout the weekend with Michael Hurczyn earning P3 in the TC class during Race 2 and Ruben Iglesias Jr finishing P7 in Race 1 — his 2nd race ever in TCA.
An uncharacteristically rainy winter in California set the stage for the TC America season’s debut at Sonoma Raceway. Indeed, the track’s typically thirsty backdrop showed up for the first round looking vibrant. But Sonoma wasn’t the only thing that was green; this would be the first opportunity for every competitor in the field to strike early and set the tone for the rest of the race calendar.
The Pit+Paddock Civic Type R TCX, freshly adorned in its bespoke livery, arrived for the weekend poised to make a statement. But if there’s anything that the most recent Formula 1 race in Australia could teach us, it’s that motorsport can be full of surprises.
A STORYBOOK START
Saturday morning’s chill temperatures bore a sharp contrast to the pressure in the pits. Qualifying across each of the three classes (TCA, TC, and TCX) was enthrallingly competitive. VGRT entrant Ruben Iglesias Jr (TCA) landed mid-pack while Michael Hurczyn (TC) earned 4th, a mere 0.31 seconds behind the top three. But it was Dai Yoshihara (TCX) who made the ultimate headline. Yoshihara in the Pit+Paddock Civic Type R TCX managed to pip pole position by a slim margin — 0.241 seconds to No. 73 LA Honda World Racing’s Kyle Loh — on the final lap of the 15-minute session. It was an incredible way to start the race weekend.
- Daijiro Yoshihara (TCX) – 1st, 1:51.003
- Michael Hurczyn (TC) – 4th, 1:54.806
- Ruben Iglesias Jr. (TCA) – 7th, 2:00.601
LUCK OF THE DRAW
After Dai’s qualifying heroics, the buzz around the D1GP and Formula DRIFT, and Pikes Peak Hill Climb legend was brimming — all the way from the starting grid to the YouTube livestream. As the green flag dropped for Race 1, chants of “Let’s Go Dai” seemed to offer additional propulsion as he rocketed forward and continued to build a healthy gap to the chasing M2CS Cup of #44 Colin Garrett.
What commentators were speculating to be a contest determined by tire management soon proved otherwise. After leading the field for 15 minutes of the 40-minute contest, Dai slowed his car to a halt due to gearbox issues. Iglesias Jr held station in 7th while Hurczyn, after fighting up to P2, settled for a healthy P4. He would make amends in the second race on Sunday by climbing up to P3.
Dai’s efforts on Saturday did not go unfounded. His pace earned him the Crowdstrike Fastest Lap award — and with it the privilege to start P1 for Sunday’s rematch race — but his mechanical woes proved fatal.
“I’m very thankful for my team and my sponsors Pit+Paddock, ARP, ENEOS, Turn 14 Distribution, MBRP, and Powerstop for preparing me the fastest car at my first TC America race. We started out great qualifying P1. On Saturday’s race, I was leading for 15 minutes when a mechanical failure happened to the sequential transmission and I had to retire early. All night long, the team tried everything they could to repair the trans but could not in time for the second race this morning. We are bummed but we are excited and will be ready for the next round at NOLA!” — Dai Yoshihara
There are exactly 24 days until the next race at NOLA Motorsports Park which means one thing for Dai and the Pit+Paddock Civic Type R TCR: redemption. With such strong support from Pit+Paddock, ARP, ENEOS, Turn 14 Distribution, MBRP, and Powerstop, it will just be a matter of time before we’re able to translate this potential into points.