Formula Drifting Champion – Vaughn Gittin

Vaughn Gittin doesn’t spend all of his time drifting. He also helps design video games about drifting.

CraveOnlineby CraveOnline

As April gets underway, the 2010 Formula D Racing Series Champion took a few minutes off from preparing to defend his title to talk to CraveOnline about his favorite cars and his work on the new racing game Shift 2, Unleashed from Electronic Arts.

The 17th title in this EA franchise and the direct sequel to 2009‘s Need for Speed: Shift, Unleashed features 145 cars from 37 manufacturers racing on 36 tracks. While the game covers multiple forms of racing, Gittin consulted extensively on the title’s drifting events.


CraveOnline: When you compete on the Formula D series, how many cars do you have with you on tour?

Vaughn Gittin: We travel with just my competition car – the 2011 Falken Tire Ford Mustang GT. It’s not like NASCAR or some other circuits where teams travel with a back-up car. We come to an event with our competition car, and it’s my team’s job to have it ready for the event.


CraveOnline: What are the specs on your Mustang?

Vaughn Gittin: It has the 5.0 liter V8 with the Ford Racing Supercharger (650 hp, with 650 ft.lbs. of torque). The tires are Azenis, and the front and brake breaks are Wildwood. And, the clutch is the Exedy Twin Plate.


CraveOnline: Your 2010 Formula D season starts this month, and you have a title to defend. What other drifters do you keep your eye on when your competing?

Vaughn Gittin: I’m aware of all of them because it really is a case of “any given Saturday” – a case of any of them being able to win an event at anytime. They’re all that good. I keeps my eyes on a guy like Chris Forsberg, but no more than any other racer. They’re all very talented.


CraveOnline: Other than your current competition car, do you have a favorite drifting car from your past?

Vaughn Gittin: In the past, I really enjoyed the Nissan 240 SX. Even standard equipped, it’s a great drifting car.


CraveOnline: So, if the average driver got into a good drifting car, how long do you think it would take him or her to become competent at drifting?

Vaughn Gittin: To get to the point where someone is having fun drifting? Probably a couple months of practicing. It requires a sense of timing and an understanding of balance and traction. Because of all that, it can counterintuitive for drivers at first.


CraveOnline: Obviously, you have to spend a lot of your driving time drifting and preparing for competition. But do you get time away from drifting cars to get your hands on other super cars and great rides?

Vaughn Gittin: I do, yes. I’m lucky enough to get behind the wheel of Porches, Mercedes, Lambo's and alike. I really enjoyed the new Pagani Huayra, and it was great driving that because we included it in Shift 2 as an exclusive feature.


CraveOnline: How much input did you have on Shift 2?

Vaughn Gittin: I was consulting on the game a couple years. I had some input on the cars. I also helped on the building of the drift simulator and the physics involved in drifting. I really enjoyed getting as far into the design as I got. And as the game wrapped, I got a chance to get my hands on it early – a chance to play it and enjoy seeing all of that work come together into a cool game.


CraveOnline: You appeared at the big EA roll-out event of Shift 2, and you gave everyone a drifting exhibition. What was the best part of taking part?

Vaughn Gittin: It’s always fun putting on a show, but since EA had the game ready for the fans to come out and get their hands on it, that gave me a chance to see other people play the game. I knew (the fans) would like it, but it was great to have a chance to see them have fun with it – to see the work come together.


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