Where did you get your love for cars?
My father always had cool hot rods when I was growing up, so I would have to say it was in my blood from day one.
MM&F: What was your motorsports experience before drifting?
VG: I raced Motocross for about five years. I was also into skateboarding and BMX, but motorsports had a huge influence on me.
MM&F: How and when did you first hear about drifting?
VG: In 2002 I was doing research about buying parts for a 240SX I had, and I kept coming across 'drifting' being tossed around the forums. I watched some videos and just fell in love.
What was the first car you ever competed with in drifting? Did you build it yourself?
It was a '91 Nissan 240SX Coupe. I built it myself in my garage, and I still have the car!
MM&F: What is the Drift Alliance and how did it form?
VG: The Drift Alliance is the best band ever without instruments! We are a very tight-knit crew that loves drifting and having fun. We've done a lot to build the sport all over the world and continue to push hard. It started in 2003 when Tony Angelo wanted to have a drift team similar to some of the skate and BMX teams we all knew. It has grown into the most well-known crew in the USA, and it's something words can't explain. It's much larger then we ever imagined.
How did you get connected with Falken and Ford Racing?
In 2003 I was invited out to an exhibition in California due to my success on the East Coast. I felt it was a great opportunity, and I spent every dollar I had and maxed out my credit card to ship my car there and make it happen. I arrived in California armed with proposals, and that is where I met the Falken Tire family. From there my career leaped into full speed. In 2004 I fell in love with the look of the new Mustang and wanted to bring some American muscle into the sport. Team Falken was on the same page, so we built an '05 GT for competition and "Old Betsy" did us good. We won the 2005 USA vs. Japan competition and the 2007 D1GP World Championship!! After a few years of keeping the Ford Racing crew on my email list, "Bleeding Blue" (and teal), and working hard, we hooked up with the guys over at Ford Racing in 2007. It has been incredible working with the family over at Ford.
MM&F: For 2009 you upgraded to a '10 Mustang. How does this car compare to your previous Mustang?
VG: The '10 Falken Tire/Ford Racing Mustang is un-freaking-believable. The guys from ASD in Charlotte, NC, did an incredible job building the car. It's a whole new animal and very innovative for our sport. The only thing that didn't change is things that they couldn't improve-the Falken Azenis RT-615 tires and my steering wheel. It is 2,500 pounds wet (last year we were 3,150), powered by a 680hp Ford Racing supercharged Aluminator crate engine (last year we were naturally aspirated), and it has a quick change rear and some other secrets I just can't tell you all. You'll have to come see it in person!
Can you give us a general idea of what it is like to drift a 680 horsepower Mustang?
: Just imagine an insane roller coaster that you have complete control over combined with the incredible sound of those 680 horses screaming from the Aluminator and the delightful smell of Falken Tires burning!
MM&F: What was it like to go drifting in Japan with the '10 Mustang?
VG: For me it was simply a dream come true. I was able to go enjoy circuits I have only dreamed about and drive with the true pioneers of the sport in their country. Not only did I have a ton of fun and fulfill my dream, but I was able to let those who normally would not have the opportunity get to experience a Mustang. It is unbelievable the impressions that the '10 Mustang can leave on people, even on the other side of the world. The new Mustang can turn any frown upside down and I think it can even cure sickness! Check out the videos at www.the2010mustang.com.