Vaughn Gittin Jr. nearly pulled the comeback of all comebacks this year in Formula Drift and nearly won the championship. However, things did not go his way at the final battle in Irwindale and Daigo Saito took advantage to get win the title. Ever since the announcement that Falken and ASD (the engineering team that built nearly all of Vaughn’s Ford Mustang drift cars) were parting ways there have been rumors of Vaughn’s future with the massive Falken Tire team. Would he stay with Falken Tire? Or would he go where ASD goes since he knows they can build him a winning car? That buzz swelled even more when Vaughn’s name was left off FalkenTire’s 2013 drift team roster in a press release sent out during SEMA 2012. This was pretty shocking to most as Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Falken Tire go together like shake ‘n bake.
Vaughn brought major attention to Falken and to Ford when he was the first American to win a D1 event and the first driver to win in an American car at a D1 event when he captured the victory at the D1: Japan vs USA event in Irwindale several years ago. He then brought a huge shot of sponsorship dollars to the team when he signed a personal sponsorship deal with Monster Energy drink who also sponsored his car and crew. The same year that Monster Energy came on board he brought Falken Tire their first Formula Drift championship. Vaughn and Falken Tire’s relationship is one of the longest in Formula Drift as Falken is the only team Vaughn has ever driven for since becoming a professional drifter. Could they really be “breaking up”?
Well yesterday I heard from a few personal sources that Vaughn has signed a deal with Nitto Tire. Later that same day, Wrecked Magazine reported rumors that Vaughn was spotted with the ASD team testing on Nitto tires at an unknown location.
So far there has been no “official” word from Vaughn, Falken Tire, or Nitto Tire so for now this story remains in the “rumor” category; However, think we will hear from one of the parties involved soon.
Formula Drift returned to the ATL over the weekend for Round 2 AKA “Road To The Championship” as the grid continues to battle it out for supremacy. To mix things up the judges changed the layout of the track by having drivers go around the “horseshoe” first instead of at the end which made for some interesting tandem battles. When the smoke cleared the podium was almost a repeat of Long Beach with Justin “JTP” Pawlak taking the win and Daigo Saito taking third. However, it was Fredric Aasbo who captured second place instead of Dai Yoshihara (who lost in top 32 to Ryan Tuerck). The results give JTP a comfortable points lead with 209 total putting him 51.5 points ahead of new second place points holder Daigo Saito while Dai Yoshihara has fallen back to 7th place in points with 118. If the 2011 champ has any hopes of repeating he has his work cut out for him, meanwhile JTP better watch his back for Daigo as it is more than obvious that he has a very good chance at taking the title in his rookie year!
Can’t make it out this weekend for the final round of Formula Drift? No worries! Just scroll down below to watch all the action live from Toyota Speedway in Irwindale AKA “The House of Drift”. We will also bring you live updates on twitter @MotorworldHype and a bunch of cool pics and stuff from the event! If you want last minute tickets just go to FormulaDrift.com but be aware that reserved seating will probably be sold out by the time you read this!