Super Street Feature: 1000hp Subaru BRZ – Dai Yoshihara’s Evolution to LS
Super Street Magazine Editor-in Chief, Jonathan Wong, interviews Daijiro Yoshihara to find out how he got started in drifting and to talk about his Formula Drift Subaru BRZ; which has been outfitted with a turbocharged V8 pushing nearly 1,000hp and the Version 2 Rocket Bunny kit.
SS: What was your life like when you first started driving?
DY: I was 18 when I first got my license. I was already riding motorcycles with all of my friends because you can get a motorcycle license when you turn 16; you cannot get a driver’s license (for cars) until you turn 18.
SS: What was street racing like for you growing up in Japan?
DY: It was fun. I know I shouldn’t say that, but it really was. I would go with my senpais (mentors), who weren’t very close friends of mine, but they were really into drifting. This was kind of a secret life that I led (being a drifter); most people who are into drifting, their life revolves around drifting—not me. I had a separate life outside of it. Back then (late ’90s to 2000), drifting wasn’t cool, and it was considered kind of nerdy. The culture was very different.
SS: What was your first car?
DY: A Corolla, AE86. The same year I started drifting (’95) is when Initial D came out. It wasn’t even popular, but I was reading it. It was a fun comic but didn’t really influence me in any way.
SS: How did you practice?
DY: First I did donuts and figure eights like everybody else. I used to practice at these public bus stations; at night, they’re empty so they turn into big parking lots. Every single night I went and practiced.
SS: How difficult is it for someone to become a pro drifter in Japan?
DY: It’s not easy at all, and the bottom line is, at the time, even someone like Taniguchi was still a touge driver. There was no D1 yet. At that point, nobody, not even one person, except maybe Keiichi Tsuchiya, thought there would ever be such a thing as professional drifting. It was just kids messing around type stuff.
SS: When did you discover you actually had a talent for drifting?
DY: Around ’96-’97. D1 Japan started in 2000 and I didn’t come to the U.S. until 2003. In between all those years, I was a weekend street racer. I did the same thing over and over, practice, practice, and never thought anything would come of it. I went through five more cars after that AE86: a Nissan Laurel, Cefiro, 180SX, R32 Skyline four-door, and an S14.
SS: What was your favorite car out of those?
DY: I’ve always loved the AE86, even today. I want to own another one in the future. I didn’t really fix up my cars, though. That’s probably why I never had any problems. Just a simple set of coilovers and an LSD, change the tires, and put gas in. I like to drive a car as it comes naturally, more or less.
SS: What’s the most exciting thing about drifting? What scares you?
DY: The most exciting thing is to win. The fact that I even have a chance to win an event is very exciting as well. I’m scared of failing, and it sucks when I don’t do well.
SS: How did you wind up with the BRZ?
DY: My last S13 has aged quite a bit, so a few years ago the discussion came about for a replacement. From a sponsorship standpoint, it’s better when you have a newer platform to work with. The S13 is more like a classic now; if you want to build one now, it’s a little bit more difficult. Most of all, I wanted an FR (front-engine, rear-wheel-drive), and the only one that appeals now is the ZN6, or FR-S/BRZ chassis.
SS: What keeps you motivated to do your best?
DY: Myself—I just want to do well. It’s my career. Before it was a hobby, but now it’s my life. I have to pay my bills. Doing well now only helps to secure more for my future. I want to be the top drifter, and it’s been a while since I won a championship, so I definitely want to be back on top.
SS: Do you think your reason for being is because of drifting?
DY: Yes, I think so. I haven’t been doing well recently, but I always think things happen for a reason. I’m having a hard time, but I think I can overcome it—and without drifting, I wouldn’t have the life I have now. I get to live in the United States, and I have a lot of friends because of my drifting career. I wouldn’t be in Super Street if it wasn’t for drifting. So yes, it was meant to be.
2013 Subaru BRZ
Owner Dai Yoshihara for Falken Tire
Occupation Professional race car driver
Power 962hp at 6,800 rpm; 832 lb-ft at 6,800 rpm (est)
Engine 7.0-liter Chevy LS motor; All Pro Heads head porting/machining; custom Brian Crower cams, cam gears and crankshaft; REV valves; Manley valvesprings and retainers; ARP head studs; FelPro MLS head gasket; Cloyes timing chain; RHS block machining; JE 10:1 pistons, piston rings; Callies connecting rods; ATI pulleys; custom SPD Motorsports 5″ oval exhaust piping, up-pipe, downpipe, intercooler piping, motor plate, oil filter relocation kit and intake piping; GM Performance 90mm throttle body; Wilson Manifolds prototype intake manifold; Aeromotive Eliminator fuel pump and fuel pressure regulator; Wilson fuel rail; Bosch 1300cc fuel injectors; custom JSP Fab turbo manifolds, turbo elbow; Garrett GTX5008R turbo and intercooler; Turbosmart USA blow-off valve and intercooler wastegate; Dailey Engineering dry sump pan and oil pump; Setrab oil cooler; K&N HP3001 oil filter; Griffin dual pass radiator; HPS silicon hosing; Derale radiator fans; custom wiring harness by James Lin Motorsports; modified GM Performance valve covers with oil squirters
Drivetrain G-Force GSR four-speed dog box; Winter’s 10″ quick-change differential; Drivelines driveshaft; Driveshaft Shop axles; McLeod clutch and flywheel; custom SPD Motorsports shift lever; transmission work by RaceTech Services
Engine Management MoTeC M800 ECU with PDM 15 Gateway and Keypad, tuned by Redline Performance
Footwork & Chassis KW coilovers; custom SPD Motorsports stitch-welded chassis, rack/pinion, rollcage, camber plates, front toe control arms and front lower control arms; Whiteline sway bars and endlinks; Cusco roll center adjuster, rear lower control arms and rear toe control arms
Wheels & Tires 18×9″ +15 front, 18×10″ +25 rear Yoshihara Design Champion wheels; 265/35 R18 front, 295/40 R18 rear Falken RT-615K tires; Project Kics R40 Black Chrome lug nuts; ARP extended wheel studs
Exterior TRA Kyoto Rocket Bunny Version 2 body kit; Seibon OEM-style carbon-fiber doors, dry carbon roof, FA-style hood and OEM-style carbon-fiber trunk; Subaru Gloss White interior, engine bay, trunk and undercarriage; paint/bodywork by Sam’s Autoland; graphics by AWS Graphics and Daley Visual; Spyder Auto DRL LED chrome headlights; Xenon-Vision HID 5000K headlight bulbs
Thanks You Falken Tire, Discount Tire, America’s Tire, SPD Motorsports, KW Suspension, Mobil1 Racing, Forza Motorsport, Subaru of North America, Borla Exhaust, Sam’s Autoland, Turbo by Garrett, Wilwood Engineering, Illest, BC, Turn 14 Distribution, Sparco, Seibon Carbon, HPI Racing, Whiteline, Battery Tender, Turbosmart USA, HeatShield Products, GT Channel, Yoshihara Design; 8 PRINCE
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