CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA, MARCH 20, 2017 — Coming off a strong 2016 Formula Drift season, in which Vaughn Gittin Jr. finished third in the championship with two victories and four first place qualifiers, RTR Motorsports is pleased to announce a dual car campaign for the 2017 season. Chelsea DeNofa, winner of last year’s Formula Drift Streets of Long Beach, will be joining the team alongside Vaughn in a brand new 2017 Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5-D. Vaughn’s car features an updated look breaking away from a traditional theme, instead focusing on his personal style mixed with varying degrees of design: mixed paint, vinyl, gloss, satin, matte, and a few special tricks to achieve a livery that is both simple and complex.
On April 9th, 2016, World Champion drifter and Professional Fun-Haver, Vaughn Gittin Jr, will debut his new 2016 Competition-Spec Monster Energy Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR at the first round of the Formula Drift Championship in Long Beach, California.
Vaughn had this to say about the 2016 season, “I cannot wait to battle it out with the world’s best at Formula Drift with my brand new competition-spec 2016 Ford Mustang RTR. The new Ford Mustang is so much fun to drive in its stock form and with only 1 year of development in the new car, my team has really turned it up to 11 by making this the most exciting car I have ever been behind the wheel of. This Mustang RTR is a 900 horsepower, nine-second drag car that can turn left and right on a dime — who wouldn’t have fun behind the wheel of it?”
In late 2014, Ford started shipping the globally-available and new-from-the-ground-up Mustang. Aside from the fresh body, the Mustang received a new suspension configuration that includes Independent Rear Suspension (IRS). The introduction of the IRS in the 2016 Ford Mustang presented the team with some new positive engineering opportunities in comparison to the previous generation’s solid rear axle.
Power-wise, the Ford Mustang RTR is utilizing a 436 cubic-inch Ford Performance/Roush Yates Racing engine making over 900 horsepower. The team gained about 100 horsepower over previous years by simply switching to VP Racing Fuels C85 product.
In addition to increasing horsepower and optimizing the all-new suspension to utilize the massive grip provided by Nitto NT05 Tires, shedding pounds was a big focus for the team to maximize performance. Utilizing light-weighting processes similar to what Ford is deploying in its production vehicles, the RTR Drift Team utilized composites as well as stronger and lighter alloys throughout the build allowing it to weigh in at under 3000lbs.
After just one year of development, a recent test at NCCAR was the first real opportunity for the team to open the car up and stretch its legs with long sweepers and technical sections. Following the test, Vaughn and the RTR Drift Team had huge smiles on their faces as it seemed all the long nights and hard work had paid off.
“I was a bit nervous about where we would end up initially,” says Vaughn, “as we have had over 10 years of development of the previous generation S197 Mustang and it was dialed. But following this final test, that nervousness has turned into confidence.”
April 9th marks the first round of the Formula Drift 2016 Championship in the streets of downtown Long Beach California. Vaughn and the RTR team are pumped to get back into competition mode with their eyes set on a podium finish.
“We know we are going to continue learning and adapting to what this new Mustang likes out on the track,” says Vaughn. “I feel very good about where we are after only 1 year of development and we just cannot wait to battle it out with the world’s best and leave it all on the track. We are Ready to Rock!”
If you can make it out to the Formula Drift event, swing by the RTR Drift Team booth to slap Vaughn a high-five and check out the car in person. If you can’t make it out, follow along on Vaughn’s social media (links below) or watch the Formula Drift live stream HERE.
Thanks to our incredibly well-connected world, even if you have just a passing interest in the sport of drifting, you probably know that Speedhunters driver Vaughn Gittin Jr. had a serious crash at last weekend’s Texas round of Formula D. It was a brutal hit; the sort of car-meets-wall moment that makes you stop and say, ‘sh*t, I hope he’s going to walk away from this one.’ He did, thankfully.
We needed to know the whats, the whys and the hows, so after giving just enough time for the dust to settle, we sat down with Vaughn (virtually) and talked about the incident, the aftermath and what happens next.