A 10-Year Dream Come True:</br> Vaughn Gittin Jr. Tokyo-Bound For D1GP

Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s long-time dream of competing in a Japanese round of the D1 Grand Prix will soon come true.

Next month, the Monster Energy driver will line-up with Japan’s top pro drifters and battle it out on a custom carpark course in the popular Odaiba entertainment district. ‘Tokyo Drift’ is a weekend-long event encompassing the sixth and final round of the 2015 D1GP series followed by the D1 Grand Prix World Champions, and Vaughn is signed up to drive on both days.

VGJr_Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_Formula_drift_moments_in_time

The D1 Grand Prix is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, and while a number of foreign drivers have competed alongside Japan’s finest since the series’ inception, Vaughn will be the first American to do so in an all-American car. More specifically, a 2014 Mustang RTR similar in appearance to the machine that up until recently he was campaigning in the 2015 Formula Drift Pro championship.

VGJr_Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_Formula_Drift_Long_Beach_2015

Vaughn’s forthcoming trip to Japan isn’t the first time he’s ventured to the Land of the Rising Sun though. Back in 2009 he shipped a then brand new 2010 Ford Mustang across the Pacific for a tour of drifting’s motherland, and in the process put it to good use on a few of Japan’s iconic drift circuits. You can check out the video series here.

VGJr_Larry_Chen_Speedhunters_1

While that trip provided an authentic taste of Japanese drift culture, the D1GP itch remained. But that’s all about to change now.

_T9S2245

It’s not surprising that Vaughn’s been counting down the days for this opportunity to present itself, because as anyone who’s followed his career thus far will know, he had a lot of success when D1 Grand Prix was running events Stateside. It was 10 years ago when the photograph above was shot at Irwindale Speedway by Jay Canter.

_T9S1718

Following on from a D1GP Exhibition Round at Irwindale in 2003, the Japanese series returned in 2004 with the first of what would end up being four annual D1GP All Star rounds. Nobushige Kumakubo won that year driving his Team Orange Nissan Silvia S15, but the following year it was Vaughn that made history.

_T9S9334

This was the burgeoning era of American pro drifting, and although the motorsport has evolved massively in the last decade, not everything has changed.

_T9S2175

After qualifying strongly for the main event, Vaughn battled and beat Kei Office Nissan Silvia S15 driver Yasuyuki Kazama S15 in the Best 16, before going on to defeat Imamura Youichi driving the A’PEXi Mazda FD3S RX-7 in the Best 8 after a One More Time ‘Sudden Death’ rematch.

_T9S2243

In the Semi-Final, Vaughn faced off against Masato Kawabata driving GReddy’s Nissan Silvia S15, and again took the win.

_T9S2244

The final match-up of the night was another Silvia versus Mustang battle, this time Tatsuya Sakuma in the APP S15 coming up against Vaughn’s 700hp V8 Ford.

_T9S2255

It took a Sudden Death re-run to decide this battle too, but in coming out on top when the judges scores were tallied, Vaughn became the very first American driver to win a D1 Grand Prix event.

If you want to relive the glory from a golden era in pro drifting, hit play above for a Video Option compilation of Vaughn’s road to the top step of the 2005 D1GP All Stars USA vs Japan podium.

_T9S2260

The following year Ken ‘Nomuken’ Nomura won at Irwindale, taking one back for Japan in an All Star event that had now been opened up to the world, but in 2007 history repeated for Vaughn.

_T9S2609

This time it was Kumakubo-san driving the Team Orange/Yukes RWD-converted Mitsubishi Lancer Evo that Vaughn met in the final.

_T9S3193

2007 marked the final D1 Grand Prix All Star event in the USA, so to have placed first at this one was another big win for Vaughn.

Thanks to GT Channel and Video Option, you can relive the entire event through the video above.

In counting down to Odaiba, we’ll leave the final words to Vaughn… “Since winning the D1GP USA vs Japan in 2005, I have wanted to take my Ford Mustang RTR and my team to Japan, where drifting started, to compete. I am pumped that 10 years later, the dream is becoming reality and I will be joining the Monster Energy Japan crew in downtown Tokyo for the D1GP final round on October 24-25th. I am very excited to meet a lot of my Japanese fans for the first time, and I look forward to some epic battles with the great drivers in Japan’s D1GP series.”

The Speedhunters

2005 & 2007 D1GP Photos by Jay Canter 

Additional Photos by Larry Chen

ADVERTISEMENT

Comments

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.

32 comments

by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest
1

Now THAT is a lovely ra....ce car ;)

2

what car is the  black 911?

3

lele_ostia  That, is a black 911 mate =D

4

lele_ostia  just messin' its hancook tyres car

5

lele_ostia  Just messin' its the Hankook tyres car (997)

8

Larry Chen JakWhite lele_ostia What happened to that car?

9
Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

As per all Gt2s, it's probably gone into the scenery, backwards, on fire and on the roof.
It's the only car that plots "How am I going to kill ze driver today"

10

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner You win the comments for today haha

11

Goddamn! That S197's a tank next to that FD!

12

Goddamn! That S197's a tank next to that FD!

13

I have decided, Formula Drift needs Japanese (or Japanese-style) commentary.

14

Speedhunters read about his new stang in a magazine a while ago, still remember this pic http://twitter.com/craigoOZ/status/642188841311322113/photo/1

15

JoshuaWhitcombe Chris 'Haffy' Hafner No, he didnt win anything with that comment. It's just an American who doesnt get a Porsche.

16

Hey, I heard a rumor once that when Gittin won the D1GP for the first time,  Keiichi Tsuchiya was still a judge and stormed away after the final round, refusing to present Gittin with his trophy. The story seems a bit off to me, it just doesn't seem like the whole "USA VS Japan" thing would be something the DK would care about, but I could be wrong.

17

Hey, I heard a rumor once that when Gittin won the D1GP for the first time,  Keiichi Tsuchiya was still a judge and stormed away after the final round, refusing to present Gittin with his trophy. The story seems a bit off to me, it just doesn't seem like the whole "USA VS Japan" thing would be something the DK would care about, but I could be wrong.

18

greenroadster JoshuaWhitcombe Chris 'Haffy' Hafner Aw come on, I had a good laugh at it, There is always the one person that takes a joke seriously, lighten up a bit and have a laugh

19

Good point, St Eustache round was incredible in French with Carl Nadeau and another guy. Not the level of yelling that Manabu Suzuki does but commenting wasn't about the nitto tyre smoke, like that American presenter does.

20

Vaughn Gittin looks like the type of guy who bathes in hot dog water

21

Vaughn Gittin looks like the type of guy who bathes in hot dog water

22

greenroadster JoshuaWhitcombe Chris 'Haffy' Hafner I'm guessing all the non-American journalists who have said similar things don't get Porsche either?

23

@OPFOR Racing The D1GP drivers from Japan were also told (iirc), if they lose to any Americans, they won't get invited back again later. With the Japanese so concerned about face, Dk was quite unhappy that VG did so well. Dunno about refusing the trophy though.

24

@OPFOR Racing The D1GP drivers from Japan were also told (iirc), if they lose to any Americans, they won't get invited back again later. With the Japanese so concerned about face, Dk was quite unhappy that VG did so well. Dunno about refusing the trophy though.

25

will he live stream the event for the gaijins?

26

Drifting needs to go full nascar/wwe and get Vaughn to drift a bubba truck.

27
Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

Aussie mate and you don't get how dangerous those GT2s were, hence the name it was given even before it left the factory:
BLACKWIDOW

28

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner Dangerous = performance. This is not "Pinto dangerous". This in motorsport dangerous. Do you know how many races it won? Tell me what "safe" car had ever won a race. I dare you to find a car that was generally consider safe and easy driving that had any performance in motorsport.

29

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner Dangerous = performance. This is not "Pinto dangerous". This in motorsport dangerous. Do you know how many races it won? Tell me what "safe" car had ever won a race. I dare you to find a car that was generally consider safe and easy driving that had any performance in motorsport.

30
Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

My S15..........

31
Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

My S15..........

32

the car was very good 
really really like to see the car that shiny new car fits like made ​​for walking trailsthe car was very good http://utamadomino.com/app/img/peraturan.html" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">http://utamadomino.com/app/img/peraturan.html and very fast http://utamadomino.com/app/img/jadwal.html" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">http://utamadomino.com/app/img/jadwal.html mix of colors http://utamadomino.com/app/img/promo.html" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">http://utamadomino.com/app/img/promo.html from which to http://utamadomino.com/app/img/panduan.html" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">http://utamadomino.com/app/img/panduan.html make want pobud http://utamadomino.com/ see hatnya http://dokterpoker.org/app/img/peraturan.html" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">http://dokterpoker.org/app/img/peraturan.html kecepatanya http://dokterpoker.org/app/img/jadwal.html" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">http://dokterpoker.org/app/img/jadwal.html was very nice ,http://dokterpoker.org/app/img/promo.html" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">http://dokterpoker.org/app/img/promo.html  suitable for a "http://dokterpoker.org/app/img/panduan.html" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">http://dokterpoker.org/app/img/panduan.html sharp bend http://dokterpoker.org or not sharp I guess motorists http://633cash.com/Games like this is http://633cash.com/Pengaturan" very skilled in the speed I hope I can membilinya someday will whether http://633cash.com/Daftar http://633cash.com/Promo there are http://633cash.com/Berita new cars http://633cash.com/Livescore are better I http://raksasapoker.com/app/img/peraturan.html" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">http://raksasapoker.com/app/img/peraturan.html 'll wait for it , with a stylish car classic http://raksasapoker.com/app/img/jadwal.html" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">http://raksasapoker.com/app/img/jadwal.html style I http://raksasapoker.com/app/img/promo.html" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">http://raksasapoker.com/app/img/promo.html also like http://raksasapoker.com/app/img/panduan.html" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">http://raksasapoker.com/app/img/panduan.html to see would be http://raksasapoker.com/ whether there is a http://yakuza4d.com/peraturan" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">http://yakuza4d.com/peraturan car that is http://yakuza4d.com as fast and forius http://yakuza4d.com/home like in the "http://yakuza4d.com/daftar movie , the car very http://yakuza4d.com/cara_main good car http://yakuza4d.com/hasil designed a way apparently hopefully http://yakuza4d.com/buku_mimpi there will be new cars more good and the price is quite pantastis then chances are I can membilinya the same as you have at this time

OFFICIAL SPEEDHUNTERS SUPPLIERS