Mustang Drift Legend Vaughn Gittin Jr. Looks Back on Storied Career
Gittin Jr. could have spent his whole life in IT. Instead, he made a career as one of the top drifters in Formula D.
Just like Drake and his whole team, Formula Drift started from the bottom in 2003 to become the top tier of drifting in the United States that it is today. Tons of tire manufacturers provide their rubber to the 60-plus drivers swinging their chariots of fire around the corners, regional drifting leagues feed their best into the game, and the world’s top drifters all want to play with the best of the best in the U.S.
One of the best of the best in the U.S. is Vaughn Gittin Jr. Since the first season in 2004, Gittin Jr. has wielded his mighty Mustang through the bends and straights of tracks like Road Atlanta, Texas Motor Speedway, and Long Beach, leaving the competition behind in a big, thick cloud of tire smoke. But it all would not have happened if he hadn’t made the one bold move that would change his life.
“It gotten to a point where I just felt I was one foot in, one foot out,” Gittin Jr. said. “I had my passion on one side, and this very comfy IT job on the side. I just had to chase my passion.”
Gittin Jr.’s path to drifting stardom began in college, when he realized he really “did not like math or English or science” while pursuing a degree in computer science. Instead, he opted to be certified to work on Microsoft products. This led him to a career path in IT, where he wound up running the IT infrastructure of “this couple of hundred million-dollar a year economic consulting firm” at the age of 21, using the money he made to pay for his house and his passion of drifting Mustang monsters.
“Like all careers, there’s been some extremely high points, and some very low points,” Gittin Jr. said. “For me, I look back at 2004 as one of the high points, the first year of Formula Drift. I literally remember sitting up on the top the line at Road Atlanta, in the car that I built in my garage that I open-trailered there, looking down at this long straightaway trying to figure out how I was gonna enter the turn.”
Since going full-time in 2007, he’s been working hard to bring in the big deals with Ford and Monster Energy, pulling them both together in 2009 for the 2010 season with a debut at Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory. Gittin Jr. says the 2010 season is still one of “the most dominant seasons in history for any team,” with six out of seven podium places and a championship. And, lest we forget, his prized champion RTR Custom Mustang packages.
“Without being too cocky, I am one of the most successful drivers in Formula Drift history,” Gittin Jr. says, “from track records to standing on podiums to earning championships.” With a child on the way, the drifting legend will step back a bit from the drifting scene, but he’ll always have some role to play in Formula Drift for as long as possible. In fact, you can’t think of him and not think of the Mustang, too.
“I think it’s important for people to know that there is nothing in the world that is worth anything that won’t be the biggest struggle as well. I think that’s very important, before you make a big decision like I did, that you know to your core that you’re doing it because of who you are, not because of the things that you think or you see it earning for other people.”