The Formula Drift Series kicked off the 2009 season with a bang on the sunny streets of Long Beach. As a prelude to the Long Beach Grand Prix, Formula Drift has held their season opener on this historic California street circuit for the past three years. Although the sport of drifting is more commonly associated with Japanese sport compacts, the Ford Mustang is no stranger to the series. Four blue oval representatives entered qualifying with two reaching the top 8, including one brand new 2010 Ford Mustang GT. With such a strong showing, Mustang drivers definitely made their presence known this past weekend.
The Ford Racing-backed 2010 Mustang GT piloted by Vaughn Gittin Jr. was
one of the more interesting cars in the competition. With a
680-horsepower supercharged 4.6-liter Aluminator V8 sourced from Ford
Racing, it had no trouble lighting up the rubber and getting sideways
— in a controlled manner, of course.
A set of HRE 18-inch wheels wrapped in Falken Azenis RT615 tires were
showcased on JR’s new ride. For optimum grip, a generously sized pair of 245/40R18s are used
in the front along with massive steam-roller 285/40R18s in the rear. This
combination of force-fed V8 power and grippy Falken tires helped secure
Gittin Jr.’s spot in the “Great 8.”
All hopes of Mustang domination at Long Beach were shattered though
when JR went up against Samuel Hubinette, aka “The Crazy
Swede,” and his factory-backed Dodge Viper. While both drivers put on a
good show, the judges gave the win to Hubinette after three runs.
Although JR’s Mustang GT didn’t take the win, the future for this car still looks
bright. After all, this is only round 1 of the 2009 season; there is
still plenty of time to whip this new pony into shape before the finals
at Irwindale in October.