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Vaughn Gittin Jr. Wows The Crowd at Goodwood Festival of Speed with American Drifting

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No Downton Abbey here. JR powers past the stately Goodwood Manor House and the massive display of this year’s event sponsor

No Downton Abbey here. JR powers past the stately Goodwood Manor House and the massive display of this year’s event sponsor

It was a sound that reverberated off of every tree, building, and person, at once familiar and yet foreign. Certainly the mostly English crowd at the Goodwood Festival of Speed had heard plenty of American V-8s, but this one was so impressive the announcer dubbed it the best sounding car at the event.

Vaughn greets many fans, some who already knew him, and others who became fans after watching him drive

Vaughn greets many fans, some who already knew him, and others who became fans after watching him drive

The car was a Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5 Concept driven by American drifting ace Vaughn Gittin Jr. The engine that impressed the crowd so much was a Ford Motorsports Aluminator XS 5.0L V8 pumped full of power-granting air by a Vortec supercharger, producing 750 hp. This wasn’t Vaughn’s usual 900 horsepower Formula D machine but a car built to demonstrate his company’s capabilities as well as those of the component parts like Magnaflow, Nitto tires, American Racing, ASD Motorsports, and K&N oil and air filters.

Who’d have thought our own notorious Fan-Haver would ever garner so much attention at the very traditional Good Festival of Speed.

Who’d have thought our own notorious Fan-Haver  would ever garner so much attention at the very traditional Good Festival of Speed.

And it’s not as though the Mustang were being compared to just a couple of street cars. Participating were Le Mans cars, Formula 1 cars, WRC cars, and even a Dakar Rally truck. But how does a drift Mustang end up with a group of such thoroughbreds? The theme for this year’s Festival of Speed was ‘Flat-Out and Fearless: Racing on the Edge’.  If that doesn’t describe drifting in general and Vaughn in specific, I don’t know what does.

Details, detail. Even just one psi off can change the handling of a drfit car

Details, detail. Even just one psi off can change the handling of a drfit car

And speaking of Vaughn, he grew up in Maryland; thousands of miles from the Japanese sport of drifting that had taken hold in California. Without the competition, practice sessions, and exchange of information the California drivers had, Vaughan had to teach himself. And when the time came to come West for some of the first competitions, he impressed. He won two exhibition events against the Japanese D1 drivers, and then won a full-on D1GP from the Japanese, the first and only American to do so. He currently leads the US standings. Definitely the right guy to send to England to represent.

JR blankets the VIPs in the high-bucks suites in Nitto tire smoke

JR blankets the VIPs in the high-bucks suites in Nitto tire smoke

Vaughn then started a company to build street-legal high performance Mustangs and components based on his experience and knowledge. That company, RTR (Ready to Rock), is responsible for constructing the car that impressed the British crowd so much at Goodwood.

Vaughn kicks his RTR Mustang sideways on what he described as “Lord March’s driveway”.

Vaughn kicks his RTR Mustang sideways on what he described as “Lord March’s driveway”.

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is a 1.61 mile, 9 turn hill climb, which Vaughn described in a Facebook posted as the “track aka Lord March's driveway here at the Goodwood Festival of Speed is very narrow and has very little room for error! Extra danger means extra fun!”

Featuring a mix of significant historic and modern racing cars and motorcycles held on the grounds of Goodwood House, West Sussex, England June 23 – 26. First run in 1993, the event would attract a few thousand spectators; it currently draws crowds of around 100,000 on each of three days.

Every car makes two runs on each of the three days. Vaughn made sure to give the crowd their money’s worth on each pass, power-sliding up the drive and bouncing the motor off the rev limiter. On his final run on the last day, he really gave the crowd a thrill when he dropped his left rear wheel off the road and into a ditch and dislodged his rear bumper.  He starting dragging the loose bumper down the course until a quick twitch to the wheel loosened the bumper, which slid off the road, and has become one of the highlights of the Goodwood Festival 2016.


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K&N Engineering in Riverside California is the world's leading manufacturer of washable performance air filters and air intake systems. K&N invented the reusable high flow cotton air filter in 1969 and has been perfecting the technology ever since. K&N is a world class filtration company selling air filters, oil filters, and intakes in over 50 countries. K&N sells over 5,000 products designed for cars, trucks, motorcycles, engines, and industrial applications. From their Million Mile Warranty to their Consumer Protection Pledge, K&N stands behind their products and their consumers 100%. The distinctive K&N logo represents performance from one of the original performance companies. For more information, visit knfilters.com.