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Flawless Finish for the First 2023 Round of Ride with Dai at Wicked Big Meet
BY Sam Du //
June 20, 2023
Photography: Frank Thai
  • Ride with Dai is a drift ride-along program for fans, media, and industry partners hosted by Pit+Paddock and pro driver Dai Yoshihara.
  • This year’s season is brought to you by PowerStop and will make three stops across the U.S. which include Wicked Big Meet and two rounds of Formula DRIFT.
  • The hero vehicle of the program is Dai Yoshihara’s former Formula DRIFT 1,000hp Subaru BRZ which he competed with for eight years.
  • With the help of round sponsor Gates, Pit+Paddock and Dai Yoshihara returned to Wicked Big Meet in Connecticut, the largest gathering of Subaru owners and enthusiasts in the world.
  • Dai successfully completed 10 ride-alongs and performed a tandem demo session with pro rally driver Bucky Lasek.

I have to give Dai credit… One would think after retiring from Formula DRIFT after 18 years, he might’ve lost a pep to his step. Maybe he’d even dial things back a notch to preserve tires, save the car from any danger, or perhaps take into consideration that he has a terrified passenger strapped into his passenger seat. But no. Dai Yoshihara only knows one speed and that is full send. He gave exactly that at Round 1 of Pit+Paddock x PowerStop Ride with Dai at Wicked Big Meet presented by Gates!


Now for those who are just joining us, Ride with Dai is a program we created last year to transform Dai’s Subaru BRZ Formula DRIFT car into a dedicated ride-along taxi for fans. You might be asking if there was anything done differently to repurpose the BRZ. The answer is “yes”, Dai made it more balanced and modified it to have more control over camber and alignment with a full tube front chassis and double a-arm suspension. A new 2022 exterior reskin and Pit+Paddock livery would be the icing on the cake to show that this BRZ is better than ever.

The 2022 season of Ride with Dai was nearly flawless minus a hiccup at last year’s Wicked Big Meet where he was forced to retire early, resulting in a couple of missed ride-along opportunities. With that in mind, this year’s Wicked Big Meet wouldn’t mark just the kickoff of Season 2 but redemption for last year’s effort. Dai was on a mission, and he wasn’t going to hold back.


At this point, we should note that this program wouldn’t be possible without our title sponsor PowerStop, and round sponsor Gates. Transporting Dai’s BRZ across the country, having spare parts ready, a full-time crew on deck, and providing a ride-along experience that is just as demanding as a round of Formula DRIFT doesn’t come easy so we’re grateful for their support.

With the support from our partners, this experience is also free for everyone who wins a ride-along. Yes, this isn’t something you can buy, but something you can win! For Wicked Big Meet, we hosted two contests — one via social media and one in person at the show — which gathered over 600 raffle entrees. In total, seven raffle winners were awarded rides, along with two industry guests, and one redemption passenger who missed out after she won last year (we did it, Megan!).


Going back to what I said about “full send”, Dai didn’t hold back during all ten ride-alongs. He put on a show in front of 8,000 people at Stafford Motor Speedway, smoking the tires up to fourth gear, hitting the bank high, and even kissing the wall during one ride-along which bent the BRZ’s rear wing endplate in half. 

While it’s been two years since Dai retired from Formula DRIFT, he has enjoyed being able to share the violent forces and extreme speeds of drifting with his fans. This is a one-of-a-kind ride-along that offers the truest look into drifting for people who likely haven’t even seen a pro-drift car before. It was a chance for Dai to show them what they’ve been missing and why drifting is so frickin’ cool. 


After the ride-alongs were done, Dai’s crew mounted one last set of Yokohama tires to the rear and he went out for a finale demo with Bucky Lasek. Bucky is a decorated X Games pro skateboarder turned Subaru rally driver and put on an exhibition with Dai in his Rallycross STI. They managed to pull off a pair of tandem runs that weren’t too close for comfort but still fun for fans to watch. 

The Pit+Paddock x PowerStop Ride With Dai is going on a break for the next three months, but when we’re back, we’ll be hitting Formula DRIFT Utah so stay tuned to see how you can win a ride-along of a lifetime with Dai Yoshihara.

We’d like to thank PowerStop and Gates once again for their support of the Pit+Paddock Ride With Dai program. Wicked Big Meet was a huge success for everyone, and it wouldn’t have been possible without your help! 





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