The icon of Formula Drift
The professional drifter and stunt driver Vaughn Gittin experienced his debut season in 2004, since when he has collected ten titles in the history of Formula Drift. This puts the 39-year-old American in second place in the world rankings of all Formula Drift Pro winners over the past 15 years. Four victories are missing to overtake the current leader Fredric Aasbø. In addition to his Formula Drift successes, Gittin also won the D1 Grand Prix, the World Drift Series and Ultra4 Racing - a remarkable success story that makes Gittin an icon among drifters.
To be perfectly equipped in his races, Gittin founded the car brand RTR Vehicles and introduced the first Ford Mustang RTR in 2009, followed by other models. The 5.0-litre V8 engines of the specially converted vehicles can produce up to 900 hp. Gittin showed what the special Mustang really has to offer when it drifted the entire Nürburgring-Nordschleife at up to 240 km/h last year - a full 20.7 kilometres.
The drift championship's rating system
Formula Drift, also known as Formula D, is the leading drift championship series in the USA. 60 licensed drivers are currently competing in Pro and Pro 2 and are drifting for the title - the competition for registration is enormous. The series consists of eight laps, which are held throughout North America on a wide variety of racetracks. Final Stop: Irwindale.
After the Formula Drift drivers have qualified in two solo races, the 32 best drivers are admitted to a competition class and compete twice in a tandem fight - the best and worst driver in points form a tandem. The judging will be based on line, speed, angle and overall impression. Certain techniques can also be considered by the three-member jury. Formula Drift thus combines classic racing with extreme sports.
All drivers start with 100 points and are evaluated according to a point deduction system. The winner of the tandem enters the next round. By the way, overtaking leads to a penalty - it is only allowed if the leading vehicle makes a mistake, i.e. completely leaves the course. Instead, the goal of the second driver is to follow the first driver as closely as possible.
Requirements for competition cars
The drift cars are constantly checked and revised to ensure fair and exciting races. Among the criteria for registered vehicles are, for example, a maximum tyre size in relation to the total weight of the car and a ban on front-wheel drive. Vehicles with four-wheel drive, on the other hand, may be converted to rear-wheel drive. Formula Drift is very open when it comes to engine regulations, as the replacement of engines from other manufacturers is permitted. This results in a variety of combinations of engine and chassis for the drifters and thus an enormous power output.
During the race, all drivers have the chance to take advantage of a one-off break from the competition to repair their vehicle. If you don't make it to the starting line in time for your tandem run, you can give your opponent a head start because he will then drive a single lap.
The schedule of all races can be found online at Formula D.
Parts of the event can be followed in the livestream. Will Gittin be able to defend his title?