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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
In the never-ending battle to one up one another in the world of Internet videos, professional drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Monster Energy are turning up the heat in Fire Drift.
The newest rendition of World Champion Drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s Mustang RTR has just been revealed, available in two trim levels: Spec 1 and Spec 2.
Those that don’t know, Megabloks has been making a strong push into the building blocks world dominated by Legos.
They’ve been having success getting into the market by teaming up and designing kits outside of where Legos can be found. Now it looks like Megabloks has struck up a partnership with Need for Speed to produce some collector series toys, and this is our peek at their first creation – Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s / Team NFS Ford Mustang RTR-X.
We originally saw the RTR-X project when it was getting prepped for the 2010 SEMA Show, and a year later, it’s still one of our favorite cars ever built. Now we’ll be keeping our eyes out to get our own 69-piece kit to build our own RTR-X to sit on our desks… you know, since we’ll never own the real thing.
[Source: Speedhunters Facebook]
Ford fans, start your engines! Ford’s new TV series, Octane Academy, is coming to FUEL TV and its adrenaline-pumping challenges will get your motor revving.
This 13-episode original television series follows driving contestants of Octane Academy as they are put through the paces of a series of challenges while staying at four action sports camps. There will be three episodes for each of the camps and will begin airing in early 2012 on FUEL TV.
“We’re really excited to bring Ford’s Octane Academy to life in an exciting show that will feature quick cuts, comic relief and risk-taking scenarios that take both the pro drivers and everyday Joes out of their comfort zones in the name of entertainment,” said Peter Vesey, FUEL TV Vice President, Advertising Sales.
You can start watching Ford’s Octane Academy this November, which starts with the first camp hosted by Brian Deegan. Taking up the challenge of the academy will be 32 ultimate fans who get the chance to be behind the wheel of a sports car. These lucky contestants will be paired up with famous Ford action sports drivers, including Brian Deegan, Ken Block, Tanner Foust and Vaughn Gittin Jr. They’ll get to test out their driving skills using the F-150 SVT Raptor, Mustang and the Focus.
The race to get into Ford’s Octane Academy started this July and garnered more than 6,000 applications and 850 video submissions. The racing hopefuls had to explain why they have what it takes to survive a weekend of on- and off-road challenges. Out of those applicants, only 32 were picked to compete in the four camps that will be hosted over the course of the year. Eight contestants participate in each camp and have to battle it out with a battery of challenges and dares over one long weekend. Each of the Ford action sports drivers get to design their ultimate playground for the contestants, and give them a crash course in how to master the road while testing their attitudes, athleticism and audacity. Drivers who stand out move ahead and pick up prizes, and the overall winner of each camp will be awarded a new Ford vehicle of their choice.
2010 Formula Drift Champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. takes his dog and pony show to the Middle East: drifting Saudi Arabia in his Ford Mustang.
At the Al Reem Circuit, he puts on a show that would make Ken Block proud. Titled Drifting In The K.S.A, Gittin was given permission to do basically anything around the racetrack, which he takes full advantage of: he first tackles the course grounds in a Boss 302 before bringing out his Monster-liveried Falken Mustang in a cloud of tire smoke.
“Everyone I met, from Princes, to other professional drivers, to swarms of fans, treated me with amazing hospitality and kindness.” Said Gittin. “It was an incredible experience that I will never forget and I look forward to coming back to the K.S.A!”
Click the jump to watch the video and to gain terrible ideas on doing this yourself. But as always…don’t. Unless you were 2009′s Formula Drift Champion.
With their team of star drivers behind them, Ford is launching the Octane Academy that will bring their ultimate fans face to face with their favorite action sports driver. The all-star cast of Ken Block, Tanner Foust, Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Brian Deegan will be hosting four different camps throughout the year, one by each driver. At each camp, contestants that are selected through video submissions will get to go head-to-head in testing their driving skills.
Each driver will design their own playground, allowing participants to experience out-of-this-world driving lessons while being recorded for the Octane Academy series. And participants that compete to the level that each driver is satisfied with, will win prizes including an overall grand prize of a one-off vehicle created by each of the drivers.
Those interested in entering to possibly become a participant will need to do a video submission telling their story of why they think they have what it takes to survive in the crazy world of Ford’s top tier drivers. The first camp will be hosted by Deegan in November and will feature the theme of Ford RallyCross and Off-Road truck racing. Drivers will get to participate in a Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. Those wanting to meet up with Block, will get to get behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta in probably a Gymkhana-themed academy. No doubt Gittin Jr. will get his participants amped up and behind the wheel of a Ford Mustang looking to go sideways. Lastly, Foust will be able to train his drivers in a Ford Focus with an X-Games inspired theme.
Check out a video announcing the Ford Octane Academy after the break.
A new drifting record was set last weekend by Mauro Calo totaling 7,572 feet in a Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG around a skidpad. 2010 Formula Drift champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. said that after watching the C63 circle the concrete pad for more than two minutes, he was unimpressed.
“There are about 60 drivers that show up to Formula Drift every month, as well as thousands of grassroots drifters, that can do giant donuts until the tires pop, as well.” Gittin held the original record of 6,285 feet set in December 2008. Now we come the the question of what is a “world record” drift? Guinness World Records defines drifting as, ”driving a car with rear slip angle that is greater to the front.” However Gittin would call that a donut.
Gittin has suggested that Guinness World Records rephrase the definition of drifting to put credibility back in to attempt. Gittin believes the definition should be ”drifting without intersecting your drift line.” Gittin feels ”This result would be a record that took a lot of skill, balls, and wouldn’t put you to sleep watching the video of it.” He’s got a good point.
Check out Mauro Calo’s record setting drift after the jump!
Nothing thrills us more than a show-quality built car getting thoroughly abused on the track. And in true Vaughn Gittin Jr. form, his 1969 Ford RTR-X Mustang has finally gone sideways. Originally built as a SEMA project vehicle, Gittin Jr. promised many that he would take it out on the track proving that every bit of the car was as functional as it was show.
Unfortunately we didn’t get to witness it first hand, but the photos prove that Gittin had no reservations in whipping the RTR-X around Willow Springs Raceway. There’s no denying Gittin probably put the Boss 302 5.0L V8 through some work and clearly all the suspension tweaks that Gittin wanted done on the project paid off. We’re digging the color scheme of the car on the track and those Work Meister’s do a good job on some old school American muscle.
Hit the link below to see all the pics.
What do you get when you take a Formula Drift champion, a video camera, and a website editor that has no fear? Apparently the video that’s available after the jump. Wrecked Magazine teamed up with Vaughn Gittin Jr. out in Las Vegas with a Ford F150 SVT Raptor to reach all new heights – recording it, of course, to share with the rest of the world.
Knowing just how bold of a driver Gittin is, handing him the keys of an F150 SVT Raptor and access to the CORR Truck Track at Las Vegas Speedway, most of us could conjure up the result in our minds. And absolutely nothing less than what’s expected is what’s seen on the video.
As far as Wrecked Magazine is considered, they may have filmed the highest jump an SVT Raptor has ever made in stock form. Despite all of the work and abuse the truck took at the track, they drove it home safely from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, a great testament to just how tough Ford tough is.
Check out the video after the break.
[Source: Wrecked Magazine]
GALLERY: Vaughn Gittin Jr Jumps Ford F-150 SVT Raptor
After claiming this year’s Formula Drift championship, Vaughn Gittin Jr. is looking to further expand his driving resume by participating in this weekend’s Gymkhana Grid event at Irwindale Speedway. His weapon of choice will be Ken Block’s old 1978 Ford Escort Mk2, now sporting Monster Energy Drink livery.
For those not in the know, Gymkhana Grid is presented by Ken Block, known for his ridiculously awesome gymkhana videos. Several of Formula Drift’s top drivers will be in attendance, including Gittin Jr.’s Falken teammate, Daijiro Yoshihara, Matt Powers, Ross Petty and Joon Maeng, just to name a few. If you’re in the area, make sure to stop by Irwindale Speedway to get your motorsports fix until next season starts.
[Source: Wrecked Magazine]
Still confused about Gymkhana Grid? See after the jump for a quick promo video:
Ford crammed literally dozens of cars and trucks into its booth at the SEMA Show this year, but of the group there was one definitive showstopper. During the press conference, only one car remained under wraps and that was the Team Need for Speed 1969 Ford Mustang RTR-X, built with input by Ford driver Vaughn Gittin Jr. and set to appear virtually in an upcoming Need for Speed game.
Based on the 1969 Dynacorn body Mustang (a recreation of the original fastback model using Ford tooling), the chassis is custom built, as is the suspension setup, to allow for an extra low ride height as well as some serious (50 to 60 degree) steering angle. After all, this is no trailer Queen. No, Gittin intends to drift the car like he would any other.
Under the hood is a new 5.0-liter V8 engine from the 2011 Mustang GT, pumped up to 440-hp at close to 8000 rpm. And who can miss the Kinsler individual throttle bodies?
Outside there’s plenty of custom bodywork including the massive fender flares. According to Gittin, he and his team took inspiration not just from race cars and classic American muscle, but also from old Japanese sports cars (we spy a little Datsun in the design). And speaking of old school Japanese cars, the RTR-X gets a set of Work Meister rims (designed after Gittin’s own drift car) wrapped in Falken RT615-K tires.
Other modern highlights for the RTR-X include an updated interior with digital gauges, as well as plenty of carbon fiber and Alcantara.
We can’t wait to see what this beauty is capable of.
GALLERY: Team Need for Speed 1969 Ford Mustang RTR-X
See after the jump for video of the car:
There was certainly a lot of hype around Vaughn Gittin Jr’s Ford Mustang at the beginning of this year’s 2010 Formula Drift season. The newly built 2011 Ford Mustang, with help from sponsors Monster Energy Drink and Falken Tire, featured every bit of experience Gittin and his team has developed over the years of drifting American muscle. And all the hard work has finally paid off as Gittin Jr. has taken the 2010 Formula Drift championship.
This past weekend, the season finale took place at Irwindale Speedway. And while Vaughn Gittin was clearly the leader in points, Tanner Foust and teammate Daijiro Yoshihara still had an outside chance of taking the championship. But Gittin wasn’t letting off the gas anytime soon facing two-time champion Tanner Foust in the grand finale. Even with the championship locked down at that point, Gittin put on a show for the spectators, taking Foust to a one-more time battle. Ultimately the Irwindale event would belong to Foust with Gittin still taking home for the 2010 championship.
This season was a dominating one for Gittin Jr and his Falken Tire / Monster Energy Drink team. He found the podium at six of seven events showing just how much experience pays off. So a huge congratulations goes out to the Falken Tire team for finally locking down a championship and we look forward to seeing what they have in waiting for 2011.
Official press release available after the break.
This past weekend was Formula Drift’s fifth event of the season, taking place out in scorching Las Vegas. To combat the heat, the event actually took place late at night and was fittingly named “Round 5: After Dark.” With the championship now coming down to the wire, teams have been swapping out motors and finding new ways to gain an advantage against the more consistent teams as familiar faces such as Samuel Hubinette, Rhys Millen and Tanner Foust are barely in championship contention; with Tanner Foust being the closest in third place.
But the weekend would belong to the dedicated team from Falken Tire, once again sweeping the podium with a first, second and third finish. Sitting on top however wouldn’t be Daijiro Yoshihara or Vaughn Gittin Jr., both of which had secured event wins this season, but rather their teammate Tyler McQuarrie in the Nissan 350Z convertible. Gittin Jr. would got himself in a Mustang vs. Mustang tandem battle against Tony Brakohiapa but the skilled veteran Gittin took third place and maintain the points lead.
The final tandem battle of the night pitted McQuarrie against Yoshihara – with Yoshihara having been amazingly consistent throughout the season, while McQuarrie battled ups-and-downs but stayed persistent and optimistic. All his hard work would finally pay off as he took the win after Yoshihara’s S13 had mechanical troubles.
This is McQuarrie’s first career victory in Formula Drift and is just icing on the cake for another fantastic weekend from Falken Tires.
Official press release available after the break.
Back towards the end of May, we were teased with renders of a 1969 Ford Mustang that Vaughn Gittin Jr. would be building for SEMA 2010. Now the RTR-X is taking clear form and Speedhunters.com has revealed even more photos of the build. We have to say we’re quite impressed and can’t wait to see the finished project. This is undoubtedly one of the coolest cars we’ll set our eyes on… ever.
Almost all of the chassis work has been done on the car, and it’s on the ground and rolling, looking absolutely killer. Steen Chassis has done a fantastic job executing the project from bottom-up and the custom metal work is of impeccable quality.
The car is now off to Twins Turbo for all of the finishing touches and StitchCraft Interiors have already met with Gittin Jr. himself to go over the interior modifications. The post reveals the widebody being fitted on and it looks like they’ve got quite a bit to go in the engine bay.
We have to applaud the team in executing the project in a timely fashion. SEMA is still a couple of months away, but for anyone that has ever been involved with a build for SEMA, two months is not a lot of time. Given the level of detail and quality that is being put into this RTR-X, we expect them to finish without a single flaw and the car to be a true masterpiece once it touches ground on the show floor. This will be at the top of our list when we head over to SEMA to check out in person!
Make sure to hit the source for all the new pics.
Formula Drift’s success has been overwhelming in America. Not only does the series do a great job ensuring the fans get the excitement they expect after paying the ticket price, but they do a fantastic job in taking care of their drivers, sponsors and race teams. Formula D’s TV show scheduling is about to begin on Versus and they have recently released the opening video segment that stars plenty of Formula Drift’s finest.
The intro video features coverage up to the Seattle event, and really does a good job capturing the excitement one would expect from drifting. The show will be offered in HD starting on August 30th and will air every Sunday for fourteen weeks for seven events. The time slots are 2:00PM EST, 11:00AM EST and each episode is re-aired each week following the initial airing.
More kudos to Formula Drift in teaming up with a successful television network to garner more fans and attention, keeping racers and sponsors happy around the nation.
Check out the video after the jump:
We think the more interesting question to ask these days is, “What hasn’t Vaughn Gittin Jr. done with the Ford Mustang?” Sure Gittin wasn’t exactly Ford’s first choice when handing the Mustang’s keys over to a drifter (Ken Gushi Jr. had that privilege) but it’d be really tough to find someone to say he isn’t the right choice. From drifting worldwide and leading the current points championship in Formula Drift, Gittin Jr. has really broken the mold and brought Ford’s Mustang to the forefront of the action sport world.
And just when we thought we had seen it all from Gittin and his rockstar-like antics, he has teamed up with MTV’s Rob Dyrdek and his Fantasy Factory show to conjure up a car skateboard park. Many may know that Gittin Jr. himself was a skater and loves action sports, so merging the two passions together almost seemed natural to him, no matter how unnatural it is to the rest of the world.
Another Ford Mustang seems to have been built that replicates the look of his drift Mustang, but setup to tackle the half-pipe rather than Irwindale Speedway’s outer bank. Even Dyrdek took some seat time and had some wicked fun in his creation.
Check out the official press release from MTV and do not miss the video after the break.
The $1,695 Brembo package includes front 14-inch Brembo vented rotors and 4-piston calipers along with 11.8-inch vented rotors and 2-piston calipers out back. This package also includes unique electronic stability control (ESC) tuning and a gorgeous set of 19-inch’ Dark Stainless painted aluminum wheels that provided added style and the added caliper clearance needed for the big front Brembo calipers.
With the 2011 GT you also get the 2010 Track Pack for free, which includes parts from the 2010 Ford Mustang Shelby GT-500 and the 2008 Mustang Bullitt. This means upgraded lower rear control arms, thicker front and rear anti-sway bars, revised shocks/struts, stiffer springs and more aggressive front and rear brake pads. These parts combined to give the 2010 Mustang an impressive 0.93G skidpad rating, a number Car & Driver improved on by 0.01G with the 2011 Mustang GT (perhaps thanks to the sticky factory-equipped Pirelli P Zero rubber). Not too shabby for a $30k pony car!
With the popularity of the Brembo package, we can only conclude that the 2011 Ford Mustang GT is attracting a more performance-minded buyer, perhaps because of the great bang for the buck this muscle car represents or perhaps because of the popularity of the Mustang Challenge racing series, or even the sideways antics of pro drifters like Vaughn Gittin Jr. Whatever the case may be, we’re seeing more and more new gen Mustangs at the track. Time to make the Camaro turn and brake a little (ok, a lot) better, GM.
Ford has just announced a new package for the 2011 Mustang and unlike retro styled kits like the California Special, this one really gets our blood pumping. Designed by pro-drifter Vaugh GittinJr., the RTR package will be available for all 2011 models and includes a complete aero kit including a front splitter, side skirts, a rear diffuser and rear spoiler. Also a part of the package are M Falken FK-452 on 19-inch wheels as well as special RTR interior details and racing stripes.
GALLERY: Vaughn Gittin Jr. RTR Package for the 2011 Mustang
Get all the info after the jump:
It’s no surprise that Gittin Jr. has really helped push the Ford Mustang brand with younger enthusiasts. From drifting to his Mustang RTR, to the awesome and RTR-C (that debuted at SEMA 2009), he has captured the attention of many using modern designs and modern Mustangs.
Now he’s taking a step back, way back to 1969. That’s right, instead of planning a 2011 Mustang for SEMA this year, Gittin Jr. is planning to build a bad-ass 1969 Stang.
The project is a collaboration with Team Need for Speed from EA Games. Yes, the same Need for Speed that we see on the shelves at Wal-Mart and Best Buy for the Xbox 360 and PS3. Dubbed the RTR-X, the project has already been in the works for the greater half of this year.
Gittin will be starting with a Dynacorn 1969 Ford Mustang fastback body rather than sourcing a used chassis himself. Considering the amount of work that they plan on doing to this car, it’s probably the best move. The suspension will be completely overhauled with the aid of Maier Racing. Under the hood will be new-age technology, featuring a 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0L V8. Clearly the stock engine won’t be enough for a monster driver like Gittin, so individual throttle bodies from Kinsler will be in the works.
Interestingly enough, Gittin is opting for a set of JDM wheels from Work Wheels – 18×10 and 18×12 Work Meisters. Falken’s RT615-Ks will surround the wheels naturally and brakes will be supplied by Wilwood.
Much of the build will be assisted by Twins Turbo and Steen Chassis, all brilliant minds in the industry that have more than enough experience to back the project. From renders to reality, we’re really excited to see how this project will turn out. Adding some modern flair to a classic vehicle while sporting influence from all facets of motorsports really makes this project a complete one-of-a-kind.
GALLERY: 1969 Mustang RTR-X
Although Diajiro Yoshihara is hardly a newcomer to the world of drifting, it was something of a surprise to see this series veteran take home the victory at Road Atlanta this past weekend given that he hadn’t won a Formula Drift event since 2007 and was driving a freshly built Discount Tire and Falken sponsored Nissan 240SX.
Making Dai’s win in Hotlanta even more impressive was his performance in the final pairing against current overall points leader Vaughn Gittin Jr. in his insanely powerful Ford Mustang GT.
The 2010 Formula Drift championship is shaping up to be the most competitive season yet, with Gittin and Yoshihara leading the standings, followed closely by three former series champions, Rhys Millen, Tanner Foust, and defending champ Chris Forsberg. The cream already appears to be rising to the top and the challenge ahead for Falken stablemates Gittin Jr. and Yoshihara is clearly a monumental one.
Still, drifting is an inherently unpredictable motorsport and with so many strong contenders among the top 32 drivers, it’s still anybody’s guess who will come out on top at season’s end. Conrad Grunewald finally finds himself in a competitive machine, the Atlanta crowd pleasing Hankook Tire sponsored Chevrolet Camaro, and after a strong weekend in the dirty south we expect to see him continue to rise through the ranks. Former champ Samuel Hubinette is also driving a new machine this year, the “love it or hate it” Dodge Challenger that seems to polarize drift fans just as strongly as his Dodge Viper and Charger did in previous years.
The quality of the drifting this season has been higher than ever too, exemplified by Tanner Foust’s amazing tail-first entry into a high speed lefthand turn at Road Atlanta, a track he’s always been among the fastest and most aggressive drivers at.
Check out the video after the jump.
Breaking into its seventh season, Formula DRIFT took to the Streets of Long Beach for its trademark season opener. This event is always a fan favorite being one of the only, if not the only, drift event that takes place on actual streets rather than a race track, course or parking lot. Many new cars made their debut at this event, some having great success while others clearly have a lot of bugs to figure out. American muscle prevailed however, as Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s new 2011 Falken Tire / Monster Energy Drink Mustang claimed the top podium spot with its debut.
Rhys Millen and his Red Bull Hyundai Genesis has clearly benefited from an off-season of thorough testing and upgrades as he finished up second place. Two-time champion Tanner Foust found himself in third with his Rockstar Energy Drink / AEM Scion tC. The threesome made for a colorful podium with three different brand of energy drinks being represented.
What made this event even more exciting was the debuts of several new drivers from all around the world seeing their first action in competitive American drifting. “With drivers from 13 nations and 12 current and former drifting champions, Formula Drift continues to grow drifting globally with the most diverse field of competitors than any other drifting series in the world,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula Drift.
Samuel Hübinette’s Dodge Challenger looks to have a few more bugs to work out, but his skill and expertise made sure he wasn’t far from a podium finish. Other new muscle cars included Conrad Grunewald in his Hankook Chevy Camaro and Tony Brakohiapa in the Sam’s Autoboy Ford Mustang. Noticeably missing, and without controversy, was Robbie Nishida’s Hankook Nissan GT-R and Eric O’Sullivan’s Subaru. Both were supposed to be big-name competitors and it must have been truly disappointing for both of these drivers flying over 10 hours to not see any competition.
Round Two of Formula Drift is scheduled to invade Road Atlanta on May 7-8th, 2010. We’ll be keeping a close eye on any testing during the break and will be sure to report on the second event of another exciting season of drifting.
GALLERY: Formula DRIFT Long Beach 2010
But new 5.0-liter V8 absent so far
When spy photos first showed up on the Internet of Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s new 2011 drift Ford Mustang, many were curious on why it didn’t sport the atypical Falken Tire paint scheme. We knew he was out testing with the rest of the team, so it was clear that his “secret sponsor” would be huge and probably wanting priority on the colors campaigned on the car. So when Gittin finally debuted the car sporting an all out Monster Energy scheme, we applauded. It’s the perfect fit for the brand, throwing themselves into the mix of energy drinks that are already flying colors through Formula DRIFT competition.
Monster Energy Drink is famously known for sponsoring Ken Block, gymkhana-extraordinaire. His over-the-top videos have shocked the world and garnered the attention of millions with a simple click of an upload button to YouTube. Gittin Jr. has a similar personality as Block, driving the wheels and tires (literally!) off his Mustang in previous years of competition. Gittin has also become the poster child for the Ford Mustang Drifting-brand, having done much in his off-season to promote the Mustang chassis. He even showed off his own RTR-C Mustang at SEMA 2009.
The exterior styling of the 2011 Mustang has been changed to resemble Gittin’s RTR-C variation on the street. His relationship with HRE Wheels has always been outstanding, so it’s no surprise that he’s sporting some new ones. Falken Tires is now campaigning a new RT-615K tire for their drift team. Other than that, while the new 2011 Mustang sports a 5.0-liter V8, this drift ‘Stang still uses a 4.6L supercharged V8 from last season, laying down well-over 600-hp. The great news is, Justin Pawlak (who previously drove the Bergenholtz RX-8 we reported on earlier) will be driving Gittin’s 2010 Mustang in competition this year. Plenty of American muscle swinging sideways! We’re excited to be at Formula DRIFT Long Beach this weekend!