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Retribution and Valuable Points for Dai at NOLA Motorsports Park
BY Mike Maravilla //
May 1, 2023
Photography: Chris Green
  • NOLA Motorsports Park is a 2.75-mile road course with a rhythmic flow of 16 total turns and a mile-long straightaway.
  • This weekend’s racing marked Dai’s first-ever running at NOLA Motorsports Park with the Pit+Paddock Civic Type R TCX.
  • After Sonoma, Dai Yoshihara was eager to put valuable points on the board to reset his championship aspirations for his inaugural year.
  • NOLA Motorsports Park is 1 of only 61 FIA Grade 2 specification tracks worldwide, making it eligible for all but Formula 1 competition classes.

While the weather at NOLA Motorsports Park was predictably hot and humid, the TC America weekend was full of surprises, both on track and off. The Pit+Paddock Civic Type R TCX arrived at the famed 2.75-mile Louisiana circuit with something to prove and a valuable lesson learned. Despite showing impressive pace at the season opener at Sonoma, a track Dai was accustomed to driving, reliability proved to be the car’s Achilles heel. A sequential transmission bearing going foul meant that Dai wouldn’t have the chance to start his inaugural campaign as we intended.

At NOLA, Dai would relinquish his aforementioned seat time advantage — this weekend was Yoshihara’s first real-world experience with the track — so simulator sessions before any weekend running would have to make up the difference before Friday’s practice.


The first Friday practice session saw Lucas Catania in his No. 26 Rigid Speed Company BMW M2 CS (Cup) set the early benchmark in TCX. But it was Kyle Loh, the winner from Sonoma race two, who eventually took top honors at the checkered flag with a 1:49.808 lap time. Dai in the No. 99 Pit+Paddock Civic Type R TCX was only 0.385 seconds adrift of Loh despite getting acclimated to the track and pipped the 2nd spot at the end of the session. Michael Hurczyn muscled through practice to narrowly take the top spot in TC.

  • FP1: Daijiro Yoshihara (TCX) – 2nd, 1:50.193 (+0.385)
  • FP1: Michael Hurczyn (TC) – 1st, 1:52.612 (-0.025)
  • FP1: Ruben Iglesias Jr. (TCA) – 5th, 1:58.721

Rising temperatures for the second Friday practice session saw Dai shave nearly two seconds off of his morning efforts, boasting a 1:48.661 before the session concluded. Loh continued to be his closest rival, but both of their laps were deleted from the official time charts due to technical infractions. Nevertheless, Dai felt satisfied with his progress, stating that “NOLA is a really fun track and flows well! I hope to get some clean laps in during qualifying.”


Yoshihara continued exhibiting strong form into the qualifying session, shaving over 0.5 seconds off of his quickest times from Friday practice and being the first driver to set a lap in the 1:47 minute mark. However, Kyle Loh couldn’t be denied pole position — on his last flying lap, the No. 73 LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic Type-R TCX managed to best Dai by 0.093 seconds.

Still, for his first outing at NOLA, we were thrilled with the overall pace and Dai’s seemingly innate ability to acclimate to new driving environments.

RACE 1+2

But the race is where everything needed to come together to reset Dai’s championship aspirations. As it was all weekend, Kyle Loh proved to be his closest rival in Race 1. Upon crossing the finish line, the preliminary result showed Loh took the checker with Dai close behind. But closer technical inspection proved painful; it was discovered that Loh ran a wing angle outside of regulation (enabling faster straight line speed) and both he and Dai had over-agressive camber settings.

As a result, it’d be another long night for the team, though this time to justify Dai’s earnings on the second step of the podium rather than scrambling to find replacement parts. By morning, the tides turned in Dai’s favor — Loh’s rear wing settings disqualified him from official results and Yoshihara was promoted to P1 — earning him the much-needed retribution he sought after Sonoma.

Race 2 looked to be Yoshihara’s from the jump — the Pit+Paddock Civic Type R TCX looked menacingly quick under his control. But Loh was keen to make his own statement. He carved his way through traffic and, in the closing stages of the race, found himself within two seconds of Yoshihara up front. In the end, the motorsport fates swung Loh’s way. Rather than being treated to a nail-biting duel to the finish, Yoshihara’s fuel pump failure knocked him out of contention. The No. 99 car limped over the finish line but with a last-place finish to his name.

There’s still a lot of work to be done as the car experienced a fueling issue in the second race, which caused me to come to a complete stop on my last lap. A bummer but grateful for the improved results this weekend and looking forward to another chance at a podium in COTA next month! – Dai Yoshihara


The championship heads to Circuit of The Americas (COTA) for Round 3 in exactly eighteen days. Although we have proven pace, reliability will be a top priority to tighten up across the VGRT lineup to make sure that we are showcasing our full potential consistently. Nevertheless, we now have valuable points on the board and even stronger support from the aftermarket industry to help propel Dai and the Pit+Paddock Civic Type R TCX forward for the remaining six rounds. Game on, Austin.

Thank you to our esteemed partners for supporting Dai Yoshihara’s inaugural campaign in TC America: Pit+Paddock, ARP, ENEOS, ACT, Turn 14 Distribution, Aeromotive, CSF, Fluidampr, MBRP, Powerstop, and Whiteline.





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