Pete Epple Technical Editor
May 26, 2010
Photos By: Peter S. Linney

When you talk about smokey burnouts, donuts, and powerslides, most Mustang enthusiast's hearts beat a little faster. For many of us, our horsepower addiction started with burnouts or powerslides around a corner somewhere. Today, however, throwing a car sideways into a turn has turned into an all-out motorsport of sorts. For Mustang drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr., being sideways is just another day at the office.

Gittin Jr. hails from Joppa, Maryland, and pilots the Team Falken Tires, Ford Racing-sponsored 2010 drift Mustang. Now before you turn the page 'cause you think drifting is for the ricer crowd, keep reading-you might learn something.

Drifting is quickly growing into one of the most popular forms of motorsports. Executing controlled slides with a rear-wheel-drive car requires a lot of skill, and it's a lot of fun, too. Although the sport is heavily populated with Japanese iron, American hot rods like the Mustang are quickly gaining popularity. "We need to get over the stereotype that drifting is a Japanese sport," says Vaughn. "The S197 Mustang was made for drifting. It's so cool to see skeptics check out their first Formula D event-9 out of 10 are blown away by a drift competition and are instantly hooked."

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The familiar blue and teal hues of Vaughn's '10 Mustang first became popular on his '05 GT. After numerous Formula D round wins and winning the D1 Grand Prix USA All-Star World Championship in 2007, Vaughn decided it was time to build a new Stang, and the 2010 model was a perfect fit.

"In drifting, there are two different driving styles," says Vaughn. "One is calculated-conservative and the other is flat-out aggressive. I definitely consider myself the latter of the two. My right foot rarely comes off the floor." As plans for the new car started to come together, it was important that Vaughn's new ride be strong enough to handle the abuse of racing. To do so, he enlisted Autosport Dynamics (ASD) in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The heart and soul of this slick tire smoker is a Ford Racing 4.6L Aluminator crate engine, topped with a Ford Racing/Whipple supercharger, cranking out 18 psi of boost.

Running any engine at or near the limit for extended periods of time creates extreme temperatures-especially with a supercharger hard at work. To ensure the powerplant would survive, a Fluidyne heat exchanger was installed to keep the air charge cool. The off-the-shelf crate engine has also been outfitted with a Moroso high-capacity oil pan and windage tray to ensure the mill never runs out of lube.

Air is fed to the hungry FRPP/Whipple supercharger through an Accufab throttle body. Racing through a cloud of tire smoke and track debris can be hazardous for any engine, so a K&N filter keeps the incoming air clean, protecting the FRPP bullet from damage. Fuel is introduced to the party through an octet of 72-lb/hr Bosch injectors fed by a Bosch 044 Motorsport fuel pump; an Aeromotive rising rate regulator keeps the pressure in check. Bosch Platinum Plus spark plugs ignite the air/fuel mixture with Bosch Ignitors supplying the spark.

After combustion, spent exhaust gases exit via a set of American Racing Headers, which flow into a custom ASD exhaust. Four-inch Burns Stainless Race mufflers finish the exhaust and give this GT a super-aggressive growl as it makes its way around the track.

Controlling the ECM is extremely important while operating at the top of the rpm range, especially as much as Vaughn does. To allow complete tunability, the stock computer was replaced with a full sequential Motec M800 ECM fuel injection system. The system was custom built by Motec and ASD, and gives Vaughn tuning capabilities from the driver's seat. When all is said and done, the engine combination produces a tire-frying 680 rwhp and 650 lb-ft of torque, which is about 100 more hp than the '05 car.