After a year away from the sport, two-time champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. returns to action at select Formula Drift events in seventh-generation Mustang style. In advance of the series season opener in Long Beach California next weekend, the RTR Vehicles team revealed its latest Spec-5FD Formula Drift competition car based on the 2024 Mustang.
We took the badass styling, technology, and overall progression of the all-new Mustang as inspiration to develop our new Mustang RTRs for Formula Drift. Vaughn Gittin Jr.
“I’m excited to announce not only that I will be back behind the wheel of a competition Mustang RTR with our signature aggressive styling and serious performance updates, but I’m also thrilled that Ford and RTR have worked tirelessly to make something special with the new electronic drift brake,” said Gittin, who was intimately involved in the development of this optional factory feature. “Chelsea and I had the honor of working with the passionate engineering team at Ford to develop. Our goal was putting larger smiles on the faces of soon-to-be fellow seventh-generation Mustang owners.”
Available on 2024 Mustangs optioned with the Performance Pack, the drift brake adds the ability to get slideways like these Formula Drift machines, but in a production Mustang right off the showroom floor. Gittin and the RTR team worked with Ford engineers to emulate the features of the hydraulic drift brake deployed in their competition vehicles. The electronic setup in the new Mustang delivers three times more braking force than a mechanical parking brake.
“Mustang has always stood for on-road freedom and track performance,” said Jim Owens, Ford Mustang brand manager. “Mustang’s first-ever electronic drift brake adds a whole new dimension of on-track fun and capability that will enable almost anyone to drift like they’re a soon-to-be-Vaughn Gittin Jr.”
RTR Formula Drift Schedule
• April 7-8 • Long Beach, CA: Chelsea DeNofa, Adam LZ & James Deane
• May 11-13 • Braselton, GA: Vaughn Gittin Jr., Chelsea DeNofa, & James Deane
• May 26-27 • Orlando, FL: Chelsea DeNofa, Adam LZ & James Deane
• June 22-24 • Englishtown, NJ: Chelsea DeNofa, Adam LZ & James Deane
• July 13-15 • Madison, IL: Chelsea DeNofa, Adam LZ & James Deane
• August 11-12 • Monroe, WA: Vaughn Gittin Jr., Chelsea DeNofa, & James Deane
• September 14-16 • Grantsville, UT: Vaughn Gittin Jr., Chelsea DeNofa & James Deane
• October 13-14 • Irwindale, CA: Vaughn Gittin Jr., Chelsea DeNofa, & James Deane
In the off-season, RTR also worked in concert with Ford to develop not one, but three Formula Drift competition rides with exteriors based on the 2024 Mustang styling. In particular, Gittin’s Mustang features a space-themed livery influenced by photos taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. All three of these Spec5FD Mustangs are propelled by 1,300-horsepower, nitrous-injected small-block Ford engines, and plant power with advanced RTR suspensions designed specifically for the rigors of drifting.
Joining Gittin on the team this year is new driver James Deane, who will drive alongside teammates Chelsea DeNofa, and Adam LZ as part of a stacked lineup of skilled pilots set to shred tires in Formula Drift this season in seventh-generation Mustang style.
“We took the badass styling, technology, and overall progression of the all-new Mustang as inspiration to develop our new Mustang RTRs for Formula Drift,” said Vaughn Gittin Jr. “The result is the best-looking and best-performing Mustangs that we have ever created, and they are so fun to drive!”
Gittin will take the wheel at four events (see RTR Formula Drift Schedule sidebar) throughout the season alongside Denofa and Deane, while LZ will run the other Formula Drift events with the team.