Drifting Champion Dai Yoshihara Returns to Pikes Peak on August 30
98th Running of the Race to the Clouds
The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo holds true to welcoming competitors from around the world. Despite the current pandemic, a handful of competitors representing countries other than the United States will attempt to master the mountain.
Originally from Japan, Daijiro “Dai” Yoshihara will return to Pikes Peak for the 98th running of the Race to the Clouds in his 2013 Toyota 86. Yoshihara first heard of Pikes Peak back in the 1990s when he was just a kid. He recalls that the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb was a very well-known event in Japan and when he initially learned about it, he knew he wanted to compete. “It was a dream come true when I competed last year for my first time,” shared Yoshihara. Although he was unable to reach the summit during his rookie attempt in 2019, that run serves as his motivation to finish with his target time this year in the Unlimited Division.
Yoshihara’s impressive resume includes Formula Drift points championships, stunt driving in films and commercials, as well as drift driving instruction and judging. Yoshihara is widely known in the drifting world where he is a well-respected champion with years of experience under his belt. He has raced everything from Lexus to Nissan, mainly in Formula Drift. His expertise has also been recognized by the Professional Asia Drift Series.
In explaining the crossover from drifting to hill climb racing Yoshihara explains, “Of course I try not to get sideways on Pikes Peak, but it helps to have overall car control skills, especially because the road is unlike race tracks – different grip levels, elevation changes, and bumps.” Each factor is quite unique to the road surface that competitors experience while racing on a mountain towering more than 14,000 feet in elevation, but Yoshihara’s extensive mountain driving experience in Japan helps with overall confidence when racing his 800 horsepower car on Pikes Peak.
On August 30, drivers from Australia, Japan and 15 US States will challenge Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain in six divisions. Due to the COVID pandemic, no spectators will be admitted this year. Visit PPIHC.org and find out how to follow the action on race day.
Photos Credits: Louis Yio & Larry Chen