Vaughn Gittin Jr. came to Formula Drift Round 2 in Atlanta ready for redemption after a rough start to the 2011 season. At the previous round in Long Beach, Vaughn was forced to watch his competitors from the sidelines as he had failed to qualify due to human errors made during the course of his runs. But Vaughn was determined to leave that in the past and start fresh at Round 2 in order to claw his way through the competition. After qualifying in the top 16 and making it all the way to the top 8 in the main competition, you could say Vaughn was back to his normal self in the Monster Energy Falken Tire 2011 Ford Mustang.
Eight years earlier at the Road Atlanta track, Vaughn was gearing up for his first Formula Drift event ever – in fact, anyone’s first Formula Drift event ever – as this particular venue kicked off the Formula Drift series back in 2004. Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Formula Drift have come quite a long way in eight years, as Vaughn now holds a Championship under his belt and Formula Drift has grown to become the pinnacle of professional drifting throughout the world.
Known for hosting the wildest crowd on the Formula Drift tour, Road Atlanta did not fail to live up to its reputation this time around, as the paddock and stands began filling up quickly with hardcore drift and automotive fans piling in as soon as gates opened Saturday morning. While not on the track, Vaughn was on site chatting it up with fans, signing autographs, throwing out swag, and really just enjoying himself at this fun event.
Vaughn’s Need for Speed ’69 Mustang RTR-X was front and center at the NFS booth with an ever-lasting circle of admirers and photo-snappers surrounding it. Check out this VIDEO of Vaughn chatting with the Voice of Formula Drift, Jarod DeAnda, about the RTR-X, as well as its first on-track testing Willow Springs Speedway.
Back to the action on track, Vaughn was paired with Aurimas Bakchis for his battle of the top thirty-two. Vaughn led first with a great line and a ton of angle, as Bakchis pushed hard to keep up, but was a bit shallow throughout the run while the Falken Tire smoke bellowed in his window. Vaughn gave chase next and stayed glued to his competitor as soon as he initiated going into the first clip and throughout the entire run. Vaughn was deemed the winner and would move on into the Sweet Sixteen. Watch the VIDEO.
Vaughn was up against his Falken Tire teammate Tyler McQuarrie in his top 16 battle. Vaughn followed first and was right up on him after the first clip into the transition. McQuarrie tried to pull away but Vaughn was able to reel him back in going into the horseshoe. Vaughn mimicked McQuarrie’s line going around the horseshoe and kept his Mustang as sideways as possible while passing by the judges tower. When leading, Vaughn came in hot down the hill, initiated early, and threw it into the first clipping point hard while maintaining some distance from McQuarrie throughout the course. When the Falken Tire smoke had settled, the judges awarded Vaughn the win and the advancement into the Great Eight. Watch the VIDEO.
Vaughn was matched with his 2010 rival and Falken Tire teammate Dai Yoshihara in the top eight. Vaughn gave chase first and did a great job of following his competitor until he unfortunately corrected coming out of the horseshoe. When it was Vaughn’s turn to lead, he threw down an excellent run, but it was too little, too late for the 2010 Formula Drift Champion. Yoshihara was awarded the advantage and the win. Vaughn would end his day in a very respectable 6th place overall. Watch the VIDEO.
“I am very happy with our performance in Atlanta, although once again Dai got the best of me,” says Vaughn Gittin Jr. ”We learned a lot of things about our new setup, got some much needed points, and I cannot wait to attack the new Palm Beach course for Round Three!”
Vaughn heads to Florida June 3-4 for Round 3 of Formula Drift at Palm Beach International Speedway, a new venue to the Formula Drift tour, where he hopes to prove successful on the track in order to claw his way up the points ladder. For more information about Vaughn Gittin Jr., please visit VaughnGittin.com and Facebook.com/OfficialVaughnGittinJr.
ABOUT VAUGHN GITTIN JR.
Vaughn Gittin Jr. has become one of drifting’s most iconic figures and his machine, the Monster Energy Falken Tire Ford Racing Mustang, one of the sport’s most identifiable cars. Vaughn is known best by his aggressive, foot to the floor, big smoke driving style. In 2010, Vaughn earned his first Formula Drift Championship after podiuming an incredible 6 out of 7 events, becoming the second-ever Champion with a strictly-drifting background. Overall, he has achieved three wins and multiple podiums throughout his Formula Drift career. Being such a fierce competitor, Vaughn is known as the only American to win a D1 Grand Prix event, not once – but twice. In 2005 Vaughn stunned the world when he won the D1GP USA vs. Japan. In 2007, he brought America home the gold once more by winning the D1GP World Championship.
ABOUT FORMULA DRIFT
Entering its eighth season, Formula DRIFT is recognized as the North American professional drifting championship. Established on the streets of Japan, drifting has evolved into a worldwide competitive sport that challenges each driver’s driving ability and vehicle control. Formula DRIFT provides a forum for professional drifters to compete in 7 events nationwide for the coveted Formula DRIFT Championship crown. As the first official series in North America, Formula DRIFT has taken competitive motorsports to the extreme, attracting fans and car enthusiasts from all walks of life and establishes itself as the world-wide leader for the Sport. For a competition schedule and ticket information, visit FormulaDrift.com.