If you haven't heard of Vaughn Gittin Jr, you will soon. The Joppa, Maryland, native has earned the reputation of being one of the world's best drifters and is the next big thing at Ford Racing. His accolades include winning the 2005 D1 USA vs. Japan competition, the 2007 D1 World Championship, and the final event of the 2008 Formula D season at Irwindale Speedway. Gittin, piloting his well-known '05 Mustang, is also responsible for helping to bring American muscle to the sport, which has historically been dominated by Japanese cars.
For the 2009 season, Vaughn Gittin put his '05 Mustang out to pasture and upgraded to an all-new '10 model. Built by AutoSport Dynamics (ASD) in Charlotte, NC, the new car is purpose-built for drifting and represents a huge step up from the previous generation. One of the main focuses of the new Mustang was to take out as much weight as possible. While the old car wouldn't necessarily be considered heavy at 3,150 pounds, the '10 model tips the scales at a mere 2,500 pounds! "We placed a lot of emphasis on weight reduction so the car could be as nimble as possible and change direction as quickly as possible," said Ian Stewart of ASD, who gave us all the technical details on Gittin's new ride. "Everything that was not a necessity for structural integrity or Formula D rulebook compliance was removed from the car." In addition to removing as much weight as possible, ASD also used plenty of lightweight components including carbon-fiber body panels on the entire car except for the front and rear bumpers. The interior has also been completely stripped, featuring only the essentials, like a pair of Sparco race seats, rollcage, and a custom dash built by ASD. "It took a huge amount of work, but as soon as we started testing the car, [Vaughn Gittin] Junior commented on how quickly it changed direction," Stewart went on to say.
Powering Gittin's '10 Mustang is a Ford Racing Aluminator long-block, complete with a Cobra rotating assembly, forged steel eight-bolt crankshaft, forged aluminum pistons, '03-'04 Cobra cylinder heads and camshafts, and MoTeC M800 engine management system. Fitted with a Ford Racing/Whipple intercooled supercharger system, the 4.6L V-8 puts 680 horsepower and 650 lb-ft torque. According to Stewart, drifting puts more stress on engines than any other motorsport with the exception of NASCAR. Typically, the motor is run at or near redline throughout the entire course, which can be especially hard on the motor's valvetrain. "Thankfully, the Ford Racing engine we use can handle that type of abuse," Stewart told us. "What's more impressive is that it's a straight up crate engine that anyone can buy without any additional internal modifications. That really is a testament to how good those engines are, straight out of the box from Ford Racing."
As you might expect, AutoSport Dynamics also built Vaughn's Mustang to handle with accuracy and precision. Gittin might be sideways most of the time, but he needs his car to be predictable and consistent. Having good tires is of utmost importance, and fortunately Falken is always on hand at every event to provide plenty of high quality rubber. Its DOT-approved Azenis RT-615 is Gittin's tire of choice, featuring an 8/32 molded tread design and a motorsports-grade compound that maintains grip as temperatures increase. The tires are wrapped around lightweight, 18-inch HRE C21 wheels specifically designed to minimize unsprung mass and rotational inertia. Stopping power is provided by a Wilwood Superlite 6R 14-inch brake system up front and a twin Wilwood caliper setup at the rear using the stock disc. Finally, a Tein adjustable coilover suspension system allows for specific tuning at each track, along with numerous custom modifications from AutoSport Dynamics.
We wanted to learn more about the man behind the Mustang, and Vaughn Gittin Jr was kind enough to grant MM&F an interview. Read on to learn how Vaughn became a professional drifter, what he thinks of his new ride, and how it feels to be a part of the Mustang community.