BALTIMORE, Md. (November 28, 2011) – Vaughn Gittin Jr. is named the 2011 World Drift Series Champion, after finishing third place in the series’ final round in Hangzhou, China. World Drift Series (WDS) is China’s premiere drifting series and had over 20,000 spectators in Hangzhou.
“Competing in China’s WDS series this year has been a great experience,” says Vaughn Gittin Jr. “I am very impressed with the production of the events and a lot of the drivers’ talent. All the challenges we faced as a team, including battling jet lag after 20 hours of flying, the language barrier, limited tools and supplies, and running a car that is very much out of date compared to what we are used to running, really has shown what the ASD crew and I are made of. Not to mention what we are able to accomplish together with very limited resources and a lot of passion. Bringing home the 2011 WDS Championship to America in a Ford Mustang is something we are all very proud of, especially considering all of the challenges we had to overcome. I look forward to traveling back to China and defending the Championship in 2012!”
It was not an easy road for Vaughn and his team in Hangzhou to get to 3rd place. During his top 8 battle, his competitor, Wang Qi, got a bit out of control and jumped on the brakes very hard. Vaughn did everything he could to avoid him when following, but ultimately smashed into Qi. The judges awarded Vaughn the win after his competitor’s mistake, but the Monster Energy Falken Tire Mustang would need to be repaired in time for the top four. The Autosport Dynamics team did everything in the allotted 5 minutes to get Vaughn and the car back on track, but was unable to fix a damaged inner tie rod in the short timespan. The team decided that Vaughn would try to drive around the issue and head back on track to battle the 2010 WDS Champion, Zhang Zhoa Hua.
On his lead run going through the chicane, it had become apparent that the damaged tie rod would not suffice, as the fast steering inputs needed to get through the chicane caused the car to spin and contact a K-rail damaging the car severely. The car was picked up with a fork lift and carried back to the pits where the ASD crew and the other mechanics from Team America did everything possible to get Vaughn and the seemingly-totaled Monster Energy Falken Tire Ford Mustang back on the track for his lead run. Unfortunately, the team ran out of time and had to forfeit the battle. But that did not stop everyone from continuing to work like machines to get Vaughn on track for the battle for third in the consolation round.
“Watching the guys that are normally our competitors work together with us seamlessly was just incredible,” says Vaughn, “and it felt amazing to have all of our fellow Americans’ support to get me back on the track. Huge thanks to all of the guys that pitched in; we wouldn’t have made it out there without you!”
Just in the knick of time, the Monster Energy Falken Tire Ford Mustang was lowered to the ground – battered and bruised, but mechanically sound and ready to rock. With seconds to spare, Vaughn made it on track to line up against fellow American Kyle Mohan. While at the line, his crew chief, Ian Stewart, radioed him to let him know that if they won this particular battle, they would take the overall Championship. On the other hand, if they lost the battle, they would lose it all. The fire lit up in Vaughn’s eyes just as the flag dropped. He managed to defeat Kyle in a very good, clean, no-hold-barred battle. Vaughn took 3rd place in the round and was crowned the 2011 overall WDS Champion.