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

Power is transferred through a twin-disc clutch from Exedy Racing Clutch. Vaughn handles gear selection with a custom shifter made by ASD, which attaches to a NASCAR-style four-speed manual gearbox.

The transmission spins an aluminum driveshaft from the Driveshaft Shop, which is connected to the Winters Performance quick-change rearend. The quick-change rearend allows Vaughn and his team to easily change rearend gears depending on track size and conditions. This also gives them another way to control wheel speed.

Once rearend gears are selected, a set of Winters Performance axles transfer power to the 18x10.5-inch HRE C21 Competition wheels. Falken Azenis RT-615 tires sit in all four corners-but they don't last long. The rears check in at 295/40R18 and get swapped after every session.

After buttoning up the drivetrain, ASD's attention shifted to the suspension. Ford Racing control arms locate the front wheels, and custom-valved dampers and springs from Tein help keep the front tires planted. The stock sway bar has been replaced with a larger bar from Ford Racing, and the OEM steering system has been modified for maximum steering angle, which is a must for drifting. Out back, custom control arms from ASD locate the rearend under the car, and custom Tein springs and dampers control compression and rebound. A custom sway bar from Speedway Engineering has been modified by ASD and controls bodyroll in the rear. All of these components are dialed in to ensure maximum forward and side grip for drift competition.

As with any racecar, stopping is very important. In drifting, the rear brakes help Vaughn set the car into a slide and are a custom setup from ASD. The twin-piston Wilwood calipers allow Vaughn to engage the rear brakes with a lever mounted next to the shifter, similar to an emergency brake. The front brakes are Wilwood SL6R six-piston calipers on 14-inch GT72 rotors.

Vaughn's '05 weighed in at 3,150 pounds (hefty for a drift car). With weight transfer and quick transitioning being extremely important, the new Mustang needed to be light and nimble. The stock body panels have been replaced with a dry-carbon body from ASD. Vaughn's office was then outfitted with a Formula D-spec rollcage, as well as seats, steering wheel, and safety equipment from Sparco. Once ASD was finished, the '10 GT weighed in at a mere 2,550 pounds. "The reduction in weight is huge," Vaughn explains. "Changes in direction are fast and you can throw the car into a slide harder without fear of over rotating. The car is way more responsive and the traction is even better."

"A lot of people still have the misconception that we're out there with extremely stiff cars that are set up to oversteer, burning up rock-hard tires with a lot of horsepower," Vaughn explains. "However when most people check out how a pro drift car is engineered, they realize it's not what they thought." When starting out in drifting, driving a car set up to oversteer is a great way to practice car control. At the professional level, the cars are set up for maximum grip with as much forward and side bite as possible.

"We run relatively soft springs and soft, sticky Falken Azenis RT615 tires," Vaughn adds about his setup. "The combination keeps us glued to the track, even when the rear tires are spinning and the car is holding extremely deep angles. We use in-dash adjustable damping, adjustable sway bars, and some other secret tricks to dial the car in at each track. This ensures we have the speed and angle required to be competitive. This setup also requires you to be one step ahead of the car at all times as well. You need to be completely committed to each turn. If you hesitate, the car will bite you back real hard."

"Driving the Falken Tire Ford Mustang is like being in control of the best roller coaster you can imagine." We had a chance to be a passenger for a few laps with Vaughn at the Mustang 45th Anniversary last year. The ride was amazing! Mechanical grip was exceptional, even when the car was in full slide at speed.

"Drifting is one of the fastest growing motorsports, and it's an honor to be partnered up with Ford and Falken Tires." With Ford power and Falken tires, the competition is about to get smoked!

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