Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
October 15, 2013

"Do you wanna drive it around the autocross?" When that question comes from drifting superstar Vaughn Gittin Jr. in reference to his personal Mustang, it's an offer you can't refuse. Naturally, I obliged. Vaughn directed me to the keys in the ignition and told me to have fun while he attended to his Mustang Week fans.

The car in question was the prototype '13 Mustang RTR, which was really a re-skinned '11 that was used to create the packaged that came to fruition in the car you see on these pages. In any event, my ride for the week was a V-6, so I jumped at the chance to wheel a real live Coyote on the autocross.

Turning the key, the RTR burbled to life with an exhaust note that is the pride of the car's drifting namesake. He worked with Magnaflow to create his ideal Mustang exhaust note, and it does sound melodious inside the car. It sounded even better as I let out the clutch and sprinted into the first turn on the autocross.

Now, I won't lie—I was worried about going quicker in the GT than I did in the V-6. It was an irrational fear, but it would have been a bit embarrassing. As it turns out, those thoughts were completely unfounded. The RTR was much quicker around the course. On my first spin, it was configured for a comfortable ride, and I actually like a bit of compliance in my suspension. The car reminded me of a Boss with a bit less power.

However, after I finished my lap, Vaughn was there waiting. Naturally, he wanted to know what I thought. I approved, but he wanted me to take another spin after he tightened up the adjustable suspension. On that next lap, the car was definitely tighter, but I was forcing my driving a bit, so it was kind of a wash. However, I can appreciate Vaughn wanting to tune up the car.

It's just that type of desire that led him to create his own line of Mustangs, dubbed Ready to Rock. As Vaughn conveyed when he first launched the RTR program, he wanted to put a new spin on the Mustang to broaden its appeal beyond the traditional Mustang audience, much like he has done for the Mustang in drifting.

"After being involved with the Mustang community for about five years, I felt the majority of aftermarket styling of S197 Mustangs' was traditional, and in my opinion, getting a bit stale. I wanted to introduce something fresh to the Mustang world, something that would open new eyes to Mustang and broaden its reach to a new generation, as well as something that traditional Mustang enthusiast would be into," Vaughn explained.

"RTR is a dream of mine and I'm still working my ass off with my team to continue keeping it a reality. We are all about having fun and we have some awesome things planned for the future. We're really pumped at how we've been received as a brand in the Mustang world. We're just getting started."

As I experienced, the biggest performance change in the car is its handling. That's because the lion's share of the RTR package focuses on the car's handling, with the highlights being adjustable Ford Racing dampers, matched up with RTR-specific sway bars and an RTR Panhard bar. This gear works with the famous RTR wheels and high-performance rubber to create a fun-to-drive package.

"The looks are the most obvious. We've gone away from what you would see traditionally done to a Mustang and tried a new recipe that we feel is unique, tasteful, and aggressive on all specs of the RTR," Vaughn said. "Starting with the Spec 2, we focused a lot on performance—not just traditional power upgrades, but having a fun-to-drive, well-balanced car with good ride quality is priority to us. We spent significant time at the proving grounds making sure the RTR is exactly that."