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Vaughn Gittin Jr. Takes Second in North American Professional Drifting Season Opener in Long Beach

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Gittin’s second place finish marks his first event as a team owner and driver.
Gittin’s second place finish marks his first event as a team owner and driver.
In any discussion regarding drifting, or the Formula Drift Championship, invariably one of the first names that comes up is the iconic Vaughn Gittin Jr. In 2010 Vaughn kicked off the start of the North American professional drifting season by winning the opening event at Long Beach, California. He went on to become only the second-ever Champion with a strictly-drifting résumé that year. For the next couple of seasons Gittin continued to collect accolades and podium hardware in the states and internationally. In 2011 he competed in China’s premier drift series, WDS, and took home the Championship. And last year Gittin missed the Formula D title by one spot, taking second place overall.
In the semi-finals Gittin met his Drift Alliance teammate and fellow Formula Drift "Iron Man" Chris Forsberg.
In the semi-finals Gittin met his Drift Alliance teammate and fellow Formula Drift "Iron Man" Chris Forsberg.


For the past two seasons though it appeared like the Long Beach event had cast a curse over him. He didn’t make the top 32 in qualifying in 2011, and he knocked himself out of the top 32 last year. Legendary college basketball coach, John Wooden, taught his players that if a game plan isn’t working – change it. He also said, “To win a championship once you must have talent, but to win again you must have character.” Gittin put his character on full display this year, sparking the beginning of the sold-out and bigger-than-ever 10th season of Formula D, by claiming the second tier of the Long Beach podium. Making his potent 2013 season opener even more significant is that it marks the first time that Vaughn competed as both a driver and as the RTR Drift Team owner.
His K&N sponsored Monster Energy Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR is every bit as identifiable as Gittin.
His K&N sponsored Monster Energy Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR is every bit as identifiable as Gittin.


How rewarding is it put together a 2nd place finish in your first event as a team owner?
“I am super pumped that we were able to come out of the gate swinging. It’s just amazing to see that what we have all been working so hard towards – worked. From our activation pit area to our performance on the track it was 100% success and I couldn’t be happier with everyone’s performance. I am super appreciative for everyone that chooses to work hard to support me and the RTR drift team!”

Talk a bit about the new team and your expectations for the 2013 season?
“The RTR Drift Team is made up of about ten people that are very dedicated and committed to the efforts we are involved in. The crew from ASD Motorsports, who are supporting our Formula Drift and some overseas efforts, are some of the most experienced, hard working, dedicated badass dudes on the planet. ASD Motorsports manages all aspects related to our car on the competition circuit and I couldn't be happier with them. I have another group of amazing people that support all of our activation and Demo efforts. The passion of the crew as a whole is just epic and I feel it will continue to lead to success on and off the track.”
The side-by-side, smoke spewing, tire chunk tossing drama that is Formula D continues to draw larger crowds with every event.
The side-by-side, smoke spewing, tire chunk tossing drama that is Formula D continues to draw larger crowds with every event.


“As for expectations, it’s hard to have expectations on the track in any motorsport, as there is so much that cannot be controlled. I would say overall I just expect us all to give 100% at everything we are doing. If that can happen we will be in good shape, as the results will speak for themselves. We work hard and play hard!”

Address some of the challenges you had to overcome in putting the team together, and was it tougher, or easier than you had expected?
“My transition from being a driver, to team owner/driver, has been a lot of work to say the least. I wouldn't say it was easier or harder than expected though. I really had no expectations, so I approached it with a, whatever it takes to do this the right way is the way we are doing it attitude. The priority was making sure my partners and I were represented in the way we expect to be on all fronts. We have a great group of people that work hard for the team and make it as easy as possible on me. Some sick part of me enjoys all the challenges that everything I am involved in brings along with it. Nothing that is worth anything is easy that’s for sure!”
The top-three finishers at Long Beach get together with a show of mutual respect.
The top-three finishers at Long Beach get together with a show of mutual respect.


Give us a couple of insights into your final run against Daijiro Yoshihara, and what was that slight bobble in the first run that cost you the win?
“Running against Dai is always a great battle. During the battle I felt like I was in the right place on Dai's door, however as the smoke was lifting, I clearly saw I was not, and ran right into the clip which is considered a big mistake. If I was only a few feet further off the clip we possibly would have won that battle. Overall I am happy with our finish. I drove as hard as possible and unfortunately made a mistake.”

Round 2 of Formula Drift Championship brings the action back to Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia, May 10-11. Road Atlanta was the home of the inaugural Formula D event back in 2004.

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Related K&N News Articles about Vaughn Gittin Jr.: Formula Drift Driver Matt Field Challenges Vaughn Gittin Jr. at Evergreen Speedway; Vaughn Gittin Jr. Leads Formula Drift Championship After Second Win in a Row; Vaughn Gittin Jr. Earns Formula Drift Victory in "The Gauntlet" at Wall Stadium; Vaughn Gittin Jr. and RC Drift Car Spread Viral Automotive Video Fever; K&N Filters
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