Welcome to the first big news bit of the year! What was just a “rumor” a little more than a month ago is confirmed news today. Vaughn Gittin Jr. has officially parted ways with Falken Tire and will run Nitto Tires this season and he is bringing ASD and Monster Energy with him. This is pretty big news for the drift set. Vaughn Gittin Jr. is hands down the most marketable driver in all of drifting and has had the most marketing success. Gittin made regular appearances representing both Ford and Falken Tire all over the world, was featured in national Ford advertising campaigns that included network tv advertising, movie theater advertising, and an elaborate online campaigns.
His partnership with Ford even allowed him to create his own branded Mustang dealer performance kit called the “RTR” (Ready To Rock) which has been selling well and is looking to expand even more in the future.
So why would Falken Tire allow someone with so much market potential to walk away? Well, that is pretty much impossible to answer unless you are Vaughn Gittin Jr himself or on the inside of Falken Tire. Although, some have speculated that it may have something to do with the fact that ASD (Autosports Dynamics) the shop that has built pretty much all of Vaughn’s highly competitive cars, announced they were parting ways with Falken towards the end of last season. It is possible that Vaughn didn’t want to deal with the growing pains of a new mechanic crew who would likely be unfamiliar with the Mustang platform. Again, this is just speculation on my part.
Whatever the case, this move has a lot of possible implications for both Falken and Nitto. Without Gittin on the payroll will Falken use the extra dollars to back a fresh face? Or, on the other side of that coin, with Ford and Monster Energy moving their money away from Falken, will that mean they will have to cut corners for their remaining drivers? Then there is the question of what Nitto Tire will do. Will they pull backing from smaller teams like Matt Powers and Burgenholtz racing to help fund an all-in effort for Vaughn Gittin?
Time will tell! For the official word from Vaughn check out his press release below.
BALTIMORE, Md. (January 8, 2013) – Formula Drift Champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. is excited to announce that he has joined forces with Nitto Tire. Fueled by passion and innovation, Nitto Tire is a perfect match for Vaughn and his always forward-thinking team. Vaughn, who is undeniably one of drifting’s most iconic drivers, will represent Nitto Tire and showcase their max-performance tire’s superior performance and capability through competing in the Formula Drift Championship and China’s WDS Series. He will also be performing exhibitions and experiential events all over the world, where many will have the opportunity to ride shotgun in his Monster Energy Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR.
From Vaughn: “I am pumped to be working with Nitto Tire! As I enter this new chapter of my career, it feels great to be aligned with a brand that is committed to winning and progression, just as I am. I have always been focused on working just as hard off the track as I do on it, and Nitto’s innovative marketing efforts and awesome tires will compliment that well. It is very clear that our overall passion and future goals align perfectly, and I could not be happier with what the future has to offer surrounding this partnership.”
In 2013 Vaughn will continue to be supported by the Autosport Dynamics (ASD) crew – the team behind his 2007 World Championship, 2010 Formula Drift Championship, and 2011 WDS Championship. During the off-season, Vaughn and ASD have thoroughly tested the Nitto NT05 max-performance tire and they are very confident in the competitive edge they will have entering the 2013 season.
Harry Kong, Marketing & Social Media Strategist for Nitto Tire: “Vaughn has proven himself to be an incredible driver and Champion, and Nitto Tire is looking forward to partnering with him for the upcoming 2013 drifting season. The Monster Energy Ford Mustang RTR running NT05 tires should be an exciting combination.”
“Through testing, we found the Nitto NT05 offers a high level of consistent grip through all temperature ranges, and that the high quality construction of the tire allows it to handle excessive abuse – both qualities of which are crucial for drifting,” said Vaughn.
Vaughn’s first public event drifting on Nitto’s NT05’s will be January 24-27 at the St. Louis Auto Show where he will be performing demos and hanging out with his fans. Find out how you can win a ride-along by visiting Saintlouisautoshow.com
Stay tuned for more details about the 2013 season, as well as the upcoming release of the fresh look of Vaughn’s brand new Monster Energy Nitto Tire Mustang RTR! For more information, please visit VaughnGittin.com or Facebook.com/OfficialVaughnGittinJr
ABOUT VAUGHN GITTIN JR.
Vaughn Gittin Jr. has become one of drifting’s most iconic figures and his machine, the Monster Energy Nitto Tire Tire Ford Racing Mustang, one of the sport’s most identifiable cars. Vaughn is known best by his aggressive, foot to the floor, big smoke driving style. Being such a fierce competitor, Vaughn is known as the only American to win a D1 Grand Prix event, not once – but twice. In 2005 Vaughn stunned the world when he won the D1GP USA vs. Japan. In 2007, he brought America the gold once more by winning the D1GP World Championship.
In 2010, Vaughn earned his first Formula Drift Championship, becoming the second-ever Champion with a strictly-drifting background. In 2011, Vaughn competed in China’s premier drift series, WDS, and took home the Championship. In 2012, Vaughn was shy just one spot of the Championship, taking second place overall. He has achieved five wins and multiple podiums throughout his Formula Drift career.
ABOUT NITTO TIRE:
Nitto Tire develops performance tires for all uses, including racing, off-road and street. Using state-of-the-art manufacturing and testing facilities in both Japan and the United States – Nitto provides innovative and high-quality performance tires for the most demanding automotive enthusiasts. For more information about Nitto or its products, visit the company’s web site or contact the company directly. Nitto is a registered trademark of Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc., located at 5665 Plaza Drive, Ste. 250, Cypress, Calif., 90630.