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Vaughn Gittin Jr. reveals his favorite competition car yet at The SEMA Show

By Steve Turner
Photos by Stacy Stangz and courtesy of Mustang RTR

After teasing us for months with his prototype S550, Vaughn Gittin Jr. took the wraps off of his 2016 Monster Energy Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR that he will drive in Formula Drift competition next season. Powered by a 436-cube, 900-horsepower Roush Yates engine just like the outgoing car, this 2016 Mustang will rev to 9,000 rpm, which should provide plenty of slideways action.

“I’m so in love with this beast!” Vaughn Gittin Jr. said of his new Comp Spec 2016 Mustang, which will debut in Formula Drift competition at the season opener in Long Beach, California, in April 2016.
“I’m so in love with this beast!” Vaughn Gittin Jr. said of his new Comp Spec 2016 Mustang, which will debut in Formula Drift competition at the season opener in Long Beach, California, in April 2016.

“It’s crazy to think that I’m driving the equivalent of a 9-second drag racing car…. sideways,” Vaughn said. “Needless to say, I’m pumped to get out there and have some fun!”

RTR team dropped the weight of JR’s S550 to almost 2,800 pounds by using composites and light-metal alloys.

“The light-weighting that we use in the car is a mixture of using lighter materials where applicable and not compromising safety (similar to production vehicles),” he said. “Everywhere possible we replace metal with carbon fiber or other composite materials. We use lighter materials in all possible instances including crash structures, miscellaneous hardware, wheels and other components.”

Like its predecessor, Vaughn’s comp-spec 2016 is motivated by a 9,000-rpm-capable, 436-cube small-block constructed by Roush-Yates racing.
Like its predecessor, Vaughn’s comp-spec 2016 is motivated by a 9,000-rpm-capable, 436-cube small-block constructed by Roush-Yates racing.

In all, the diet resulted in a 50/50 weight distribution, which is impressive considering his comp-spec 2016 still makes use of an independent rear suspension to control the Nitto 555 G2s during those 100-mph slides.

“Aside from the amazing styling, our biggest advantage from the new Mustang comes from the new independent rear suspension, which will give us significant adjustability to dial in the car perfectly at each track and the instrumental light weighting technology is aligned with Ford’s direct initiative,” he explained.

Yes, there is still an independent rear suspension under Vaughn’s 2016 Mustang.
Yes, there is still an independent rear suspension under Vaughn’s 2016 Mustang.

“It’s incredible to see how much drifting has progressed on all fronts in the last 10 years,” Vaughn added. “It’s just crazy, the things we are doing on the track these days and I am pumped to have such an awesome car that will enable us to continue pushing the envelope.”

Of course, Vaughn didn’t want to wait until next season to live up to his Ultimate Fun Haver job description. He started sliding the Comp-Spec 2016 Mustang RTR around the Ford out front display at The SEMA Show on Wednesday, which marks the first time a competition car has debuted on the show floor and then been put into action in an outside SEMA display.

The Mod List

  • Engine: Ford Performance/Roush Yates built 436-cubic-inch V8
  • Weight: 2,800 pounds
  • Horsepower: 900
  • Transmission: Andrews four-speed dog box
  • Axles: The Drive Shaft shop
  • Tires: Nitto NT05
  • Wheels: RTR Tech 7 three-piece by HRE Wheels
  • Exterior: RTR carbon body panels: RTR wide body panels, RTR chin, RTR rear spoiler, RTR rocker splitter
  • Interior: Recaro seats, Takata racing harnesses

Comp-Spec 2016 Mustang RTR Gallery

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