Daijiro Yoshihara

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Daijiro Yoshihara
Born (1978-12-24) December 24, 1978 (age 39)
Hachioji, Tokyo, Japan
Other namesDai Yoshihara
OccupationProfessional drifter

Daijiro Yoshihara (吉原 大二郎, Yoshihara Daijirō, commonly known as Dai, born December 24, 1978 in Tokyo, Japan) is a veteran driver in the motorsport of Drifting, often regarded as one of the world's best. With 10 years of competition, Dai has always been a thrill seeker and it was only natural for him to get into drifting. At the age of 11, Dai discovered the excitement of throwing his bicycle around corners at high speeds and skidding along the curbs in tight turns. At age 16, Dai got motorized and took to nearby mountains on his 400cc motorcycle. Finally at age 18, Dai got into his first car, a 1985 Toyota Corolla Levin. He soon fell in love and gained the passion for driving on windy roads in the local mountains of Japan.

Drifting Background[edit]

Although Dai always loved drifting, there was no real opportunity in the sport that would allow him to make a living. So when Dai turned 21, he turned to more stable pursuits taking on jobs at various companies including a car dealership, a telephone company, and a trucking service. However, in 2003, a friend of Dai offered him an opportunity of a lifetime—to drive in a drift competition in the United States. Having always admired the U.S. and finally having an opportunity to make money as a drifter, Dai was thrilled and accepted the offer. Although Dai had never been to the states nor had ever competed in a drift competition, Dai had to trust his instincts and risk the comfortable life he had just barely started.

In early 2003, Dai came to the U.S. to drive his Nissan S13 from Pacific Rim Motorsport Fashion in the upcoming inaugural D1 Grand Prix USA. Having never competed, Dai was an amateur driver with no competition experience. During his first competition among professional drivers, Dai qualified and finished in the top 16 out of 32 competitors. With such a promising finish, he then decided to compete in the Drift Showoff in Irwindale, CA and took a podium spot to finish 2nd overall.

After finishing well in multiple competitions in 2003, the next step was full-time competition in the U.S. when he signed up for his first Formula Drift Championship Series in the 2004 season. Dai finished in the top 8 at two rounds and placed 2nd at two of the rounds placing him 2nd overall in the championship run. Dai was not only finishing at the top of each event but was also earning the title as the man with the fastest entry speed every time. In 2005 and 2006 he continued to shine in the Formula Drift series standing on the podium numerous times. Throughout 2007 he was continually fighting for the championship, which finally placed him 3rd overall.

In 2008, Dai took the opportunity and challenge to drive a factory backed Pontiac GTO for RMR Racing. With the help from sponsorships and guidance from teammate Rhys Millen, Dai continued to flourish and place no lower than the top 8 contenders. To end the 2008 season, Dai took the podium again and placed 2nd overall during the Red Bull Drifting World Championship.[1] Throughout the 2008 season, Dai took podium twice and eventually finished 4th overall in the Formula D series.[2]

For the 2009 season, Dai decided to join Falken Tire’s Drift team, one of the companies that helped kick start his drifting career. Dai piloted the Falken Tire / Discount Tire Lexus IS350 powered by a large V8 motor.[3] Throughout the 2009 season, Dai and his new team experienced development problems with the Lexus. After a major crash that retired the Lexus during the middle of the season, Dai and his team built a traditional competition drift vehicle, a Nissan 240sx (S13 chassis) to finish off the season. Dai finished in 11th place for overall championship points.

In 2010, Dai came back, signing another season with the Falken Tire / Discount Tire team. Drifting in the Nissan 240sx towards the end of the 2009 season showed promise, thus settling the Nissan as their competition vehicle of choice for the 2010 season. The Nissan received a motor transplant and major suspension tuning. Coupled with a V8 motor and suspension tweaks, Dai came out strong with a number of podium finishes and ended the 2010 drift season in 4th place in overall championship points.

Dai resigned and continued to drive for Falken Tire for 2011. Competing in the same Nissan 240sx as he did in the 2010 season; however, with more changes to the car, Dai finished the 2011 season as Formula DRIFT champion and also won the Triple Crown award.

Formula Drift continues to see Dai gracing the track sideways, driving the Nissan S13 through 2012 and 2013 where he finished 7th and 11th respectively. For the 2014 Formula Drift season, he has now made the move with the 2014 Falken Subaru BRZ.

Achievements[edit]

DRIFTING

Formula DRIFT Championship Series – 2004 to Present

- Drift Competitor

- 2004 Championship Points, 2nd Place Overall

- 2005 Championship Points, 5th Place Overall

- 2006 Championship Points, 5th Place Overall

- 2007 Championship Points, 3rd Place Overall

- 2008 Championship Points, 4th Place Overall

- 2009 Championship Points, 11th Place Overall

- 2010 Championship Points, 4th Place Overall

- 2011 Championship Points, 1st Overall

- 2011 Tires.com Triple Crown, 1st Overall

- 2012 Championship Points, 7th Overall

- 2013 Championship Points, 11th Overall

- 2014 Championship Points, 18th Overall

Pro Drift Ireland - 2012

- 2nd Place, Round 5

D1 Grand Prix All Star Exhibition at Irwindale Speedway – 2005 & 2006

- Drift Competitor

- Best 16

D1 Grand Prix – 2004

- Drift Competitor

- Best 16

D1 Grand Prix Driver Search - 2003

- Drift Competitor

- U.S. Qualifier

D1 Grand Prix – 2003

- Drift Competitor

- Best 16

Drift Showoff at Irwindale Speedway – 2003

- Drift Competitor

- Podium, 2nd place

DRIFTING JUDGE

Professional Asia Drift Series Judge – 2009 to Present

- Formula DRIFT Asia: Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand

- Good Year International Drift Series: Thailand

- Red Bull Car Park Drift 2014: Dubai, UAE

DRIFTING INSTRUCTOR

International Drifting Academy – 2011

- Drift Driving Instructor

TIME ATTACK / ROAD RACE

25 Hours of Thunderhill - 2013

- 3rd Place, E3 Class

MotoIQ Pacific Tuner Car Championship – 2011

- Competitor

- Podium, 1st Place, 2011

Super Lap Battle – 2006 & 2010

- Competitor

- Podium, 1st Place, 2006

- Podium, 1st Place, 2010

GYMKHANA

Gymkhana Grid – 2010

- Competitor

- Podium, 1st Place, 2010

Magazine, Commercial & TV Stunt

Mini/BMW USA, “Mini Commercial” – 2014

- Stunt driver for television commercial

Falken Tire Corporation, “Azenis Commercial” – 2013

- Stunt driver for television commercial

Nissan North America, “Juke Commercial” – 2011

- Stunt driver for television commercial

Falken Tire Corporation, “Azenis Commercial” – 2011

- Stunt driver for television commercial

Mini/BMW USA, “Mini Commercial” – 2011

- Stunt driver for television commercial

Road & Track Magazine – 2010

- Vehicle Test Driver

Mitsubishi Motors "Mitsubishi Lancer Evo SE" - 2010 Viral video

- Stunt Driver

Falken Tire Corporation – 2009

- Tire Test Driver

Spike TV, “1000 Ways To Die” – 2009

- Stunt driver for television series

EA Games, “Need For Speed” – 2007

- Stunt driver for video game commercial

Behind the Smoke on GTChannel[edit]

Yoshihara stars as himself in the reality/documentary web series Behind the Smoke. Behind the Smoke is produced by GTChannel in association with Discount Tire. Behind the Smoke's first episode was released in April 2011. Behind the Smoke follows Yoshihara throughout his champion winning 2011 Formula D season both on and off the track providing drifting fans an exclusive look into the reality of competing in the top drifting series of N.America. Yoshihara's crew members Scott Dodgion of SPD Metal Works, Mike Kojima of MotoIQ and Chris Marion of KW Suspension are also regular casts of the weekly show. The first season of BTS documented his 2011 Formula D championship season. During the three seasons it has been online, the show has accumulated more than 3 Million views in total. In 2012, Behind the Smoke won a Bronze Telly Award for Online Video Reality Show. Behind the Smoke is produced and directed by Taro Koki of GTChannel which also represents Best Motoring and Hot Version internationally.

References[edit]

External links[edit]