MM&F: What has been your experience so far with being part of the Mustang community?
VG: It has been incredible, I have never met a more passionate group of people in my life, and I am extremely proud to be a part of it! There are even Mustangs starting to go out to local drift events. I just want to see more, it's almost like they were built for it! Initially it was weird, though, because some loved what I was doing and others hated it. There are so many misconceptions about drifting, and a lot of people didn't understand it until recently. Most just thought it was some ricers doing burnouts in parking lots and didn't realize the skill level required as well as the fabrication and technology in the cars. However, the more people who are exposed to the sport, the more people there are who understand it. For example I just drifted at the 45th (Mustang anniversary event), and I had hundreds of people come up to me blown away with what they had just seen. They would tell me 'I had no idea drifting was that cool! I've seen it on TV, but it is nothing like it is in person!'
MM&F: What has been your favorite moment in your drifting career?
VG: Wow, there are so many! If I had to narrow it down I would say putting the Falken Tire Mustang on the top of the podium at the 2005 USA vs. Japan competition felt the best, and revealing the new '10 Ford Mustang to the World was simply an absolute honor to me.
Unlike other forms of motorsports, there are no timed laps and no checkered flag in drifting. However, don't be fooled into thinking that this sport is just doing donuts or figure eights in a parking lot. Drifting takes an incredible amount of car control and maintaining a controlled slide for a long period of time through a specific course. In Formula Drift, the series in which Vaughn Gittin Jr competes with his '10 Mustang, competitors are judged in four categories:
Speed: A combination of the entry speed into the first corner and the overall speed through the whole course.
Line: The ideal path a vehicle must take marked by various clipping points (similar to apexes). The closer the driver comes to these clipping points the better
Angle: Measured by the amount of counter-steer a driver uses through the course. The more the better!
Overall Impact: Judges determine the "overall feel" of the run and how well the previous three criteria were executed throughout the entire lap. This is the most subjective part of the judging.
During competition, each driver begins with 100 points at the start of each run and receives deductions based on how well they perform in each category. A spin, experiencing major understeer or push, or having two or more tires off course during the run results in a score of zero.
After drivers make two qualifying passes, their top score is used to place them into a knockout-style grid of the top 32 cars. In this head-to-head format, drivers drift the course as a pair, going once as the lead car and once as the following car.
After the end of both runs, the judges either declare a winner that goes onto the next round, or determine that the scoring is too close and the runs need to be made again. The driver who can survive all five rounds of elimination is declared the winner.
Falken Tire/Ford Racing '10 Mustang GT, Driven by Vaughn Gittin JR
- Ford Racing Aluminator 4.6L DOHC V-8 (FRPP M-6007-A46SC)
- 3.552-inch bore
- 3.543-inch stroke
- 8.5:1 compression ratio
- Cobra rotating assembly
- Forged steel eight-bolt crankshaft
- Forged 16.0cc pistons
- Blue cam covers
- '03-'04 Cobra cylinder heads and camshafts
- MoTeC M800 engine management system
- Whipple supercharger system
- Bosch fuel injectors
- Bosch spark plugs
- K&N air filter
- 680 horsepower
- 650 lb-ft torque
- NASCAR Sprint Cup four-speed
- Exedy twin-disc clutch with Tilton NASCAR bellhousing
- 8.8-inch modified by AutoSport Dynamics