Formula Drift Champion drives straight into a Top-5 Trans Am Debut
September 2, 2015
Vaughn Gittin Jr. Impresses at Road America
Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s regular “job” is to drift the 850+HP Monster Energy Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR in the Formula Drift Championship - and as the 2010 FD Champion and the only American to win a D1GP competition, he’s good at his job. Last weekend was one of Vaughn’s rare weekends off, so naturally he decided to try his hand at Trans Am road racing – in a 600+HP Monster Energy/Gumout/BlackMagic/Optima Batteries/Seven Marine/ETE Reman Ford Mustang RTR Trans Am TA2 beast at the storied Road America – all while in the rain. He finished 5th
“What an epic experience,” exclaimed Gittin, after scoring this amazing finish in his first-ever Trans Am race. “The conditions were pretty insane; we started in the wet on slicks because we knew it would dry out as the race progressed, which is exactly what happened. Once the green flag flew, I was very focused on learning the limits of slicks on a wet track for my first time. I found my groove and quickly started picking my way through the field. I was shocked to later learn that I consistently turned some of the fastest race laps. Without question, the car control and intense focus that I’ve learned from drifting were absolutely key factors today.”
Gittin started 15th (out of 29 TA2 cars, and nearly 70 racecars in total) in the #25
Loshak/Stark Racing Ford Mustang TA2 built and prepared by Mike Cope Race Cars. By racing his way to a top-5 finish, he earned the distinction of improving the most positions during the intense, weather-challenged Next Dimension 100 at Road America. In the process, he also earned the respect of the Trans Am paddock while attracting the attention of everyone in attendance with an ultra-unique-looking racecar that mimicked the livery of his Formula Drift Ford Mustang RTR.
“That it was wet was a real double-edged sword situation for me,” said Loshak/Stark Racing co-owner Peter Stark. “On the one hand, I knew that Vaughn’s car and throttle-control would be hugely valuable on a wet track with slicks. The counterpoint being that it’s on me if the car gets torn up. All of that said, everybody on our team and at Mike Cope Race Cars knew Vaughn would race well, and he did that and more. We couldn’t be more impressed and proud of how our weekend went, plus it’s always fun to combine different factions of the motorsports world to put on a great show for the fans and sponsors.”
Despite the sub-par weather, well over 100,000 fans pressed against the fences around the historic 4-mile Road America circuit to watch the thundering Trans Am cars, the NASCAR Xfinity race, and drifting demos by Vaughn Gittin Jr. in his 2015 Ford Mustang RTR drift car - the latter being both a huge fan draw and an opportunity for new fans to experience the madness that is drifting.
The drifter-turned-road racer sums it up best, saying “My goal was to finish in the top 10, so I’m thrilled with the result. Huge thanks to the Loshak/Stark Racing team for believing in me and Mike Cope Race Cars for the bad ass dialed-in Ford Mustang this weekend! I went fast and kept it straight, mission number one accomplished!“