After 18 years in the professional ranks of Formula D, Vaughn Gittin, Jr. stepped away from the series in 2022. He told Racer in 2021 he wanted to “re-assess and just focus on a couple other things for a little while. My mindset is right now that I will be back in Formula Drift in a couple years to compete once again. Whether that is just a few rounds a year or a complete championship effort.” Turns out “a couple of years” meant just one. For this year’s 20th anniversary of Formula D, Gittin returns in the same car he used to win championships in 2010 and 2020, the Ford Mustang. Or, rather, a competition-spec drifter based on Ford’s 2024 pony car. Called the Mustang RTR Spec 5-FD, it will try to put one of the four drivers in Gittin’s RTR Vehicles team back on the throne as king of slip angle.
The 1,300-horsepower Spec 5-FD will also be the archetype for buyers of the street-legal 2024 Mustang to emulate: Ford worked with Gittin and RTR team driver Chelsea DeNofa to develop a competition-ready electronic drift brake buyers can option for the retail car. We don’t have much for nitty gritty yet on how it all works. We know that the system operates in track mode in the new Mustang, pulling a handle that’s like a mashup of drift lever and old-fashioned mechanical parking brake activates the rear-wheel drift action. Ford says pulling the handle “emulates with electronics the hydraulic drift brake in RTR’s Formula Drift Mustang, with more than three times the braking force of a conventional mechanical parking brake system.”
The option is called the Mustang Performance Electronic Parking Brake offered in conjunction with the Performance Pack. It can be added to either engine, the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder or the 5.0-liter Coyote V8, and either transmission, the ten-speed automatic or six-speed manual. Checking the configurator, the Electric Hand-Operated Parking Brake comes with the $3,475 High Performance Package offered for the EcoBoost engine, or the $4,995 GT Performance Package offered on the V8. The brake comes standard on the Dark Horse trim.
It’s been designed with various skill levels in mind, adjustable settings said to allow novices to learn how to throw the back out “and later change system settings to use in track-only competition.”
As for Gittin, he’ll drive in four of this year’s eight Formula Drift rounds, sharing the driver’s seat with team member Adam LZ. We imagine that when he’s not in the car, he’ll be prepping the launch of RTR’s line of components for the S650 Mustang, some of which are shared with the Spec 5-FD racer.