Ford Racing’s Vaughn Gittin Jr., driver of the Monster Energy / Falken Tire Ford Mustang, is the defending series champ, but he enters Round 3, Invasion of the 2011 Formula D Championship, 21st in point standings. After leading the championship wire-to-wire last season, Gittin dug himself an early hole with qualifying problems at the season opener in Long Beach, California. This Week in Ford Racing caught up with the popular drifter as he heads into the inaugural drift event at Palm Beach Raceway.
IT’S THE THIRD RACE OF THE SEASON AND FORMULA D HAS A NEW VENUE ON THE SCHEDULE, PALM BEACH RACEWAY, HOW DO YOU APPROACH A NEW TRACK FOR THE FIRST TIME? “I am getting ready to look at the track for the first time. I have seen maps and the course looks very fast. It is definitely exciting having a new course which means new challenges. It will be a lot of fun and a learning experience, and hopefully we can keep working our way up in the points.”
WALK US THROUGH THE PROCESS OF ACLIMATING YOURSELF TO THE NEW COURSE. “Thursday is a full practice day that Formula D has set up for us. I will walk the course and get a visual, drive it a little bit in my head, and then Thursday attack the course and get as much data as we possibly can. With the temperature and the sun being down and this event being at night, the track is going to change a lot. It is very important that we learn this track quickly so that we can use it to our advantage on Saturday night.”
YOU HAVE BEEN BUSY SINCE THE LAST EVENT IN ATLANTA. DID YOU HAVE ANY TIME TO SLIP IN A TEST BETWEEN ROUNDS OF FORMULA D? “I haven’t been in the car since Atlanta. The Monster Energy / Falken Tire Ford Mustang is really dialed in with the range of our settings, so we can do the things we need to do to tighten the car up or loosen it up as the track throws curve balls at us. I am very confident in the car. We finished sixth in Atlanta and we were doing great until we lost to the eventual winner of the event. You can never be mad about that and I am the one that lost, not the car. I have been doing a lot of driving in my head which, for me, is just as important as actually being behind the wheel. I am definitely ready to rock this course, for sure.”
YOU HAD A PROMOTIONAL VIDEO FOR MONSTER HIT ONLINE A COUPLE WEEKS AGO, FEATURING SOME FUN YOU HAD AT CARL’S JR. IN LONG BEACH. “A little over 300 thousand people have seen the fun I had at Carl’s Jr. I think it speaks for itself. We went to Carl’s Jr. and got a little crazy in the parking lot. I think it is something everyone kind of dreams about and letting loose. I had the opportunity to do it and we made it happen. The video has gotten a great response, and after grabbing a couple of Monsters at the drive thru in my Mustang, it was time to get crazy.”
IS HAPPY STAR OK? “Happy Star is fine. He had plenty of padding for his big scene. Although, he did dent the hood of my RTR Mustang, but nothing the dent man couldn’t fix.”
ANY OTHER VIDEO PROJECTS ON TAP? “About a month ago I was in Saudi Arabia with Ford for an exhibition and it went great. I have some amazing fans out there that are crazy about drifting. The next day they gave us the circuit for the day and we made a pretty fun video. I kind of made the whole circuit, all the side streets, the car track and everything one big play land and just went out and got crazy. We made a fun video that will be coming out in the next couple of weeks. We got a little bit crazy and we smashed a few things, but I think everyone will enjoy riding in the passenger seat of my Mustang. I wish I would have had a little bit more time out there to do some more crazy stuff, but we had fun. I had a blast making it, so keep an eye out for it.”
-source: ford racing