Watch Vaughn Gittin Jr. Take His Mom to Work for Mother's Day

Dawn Gittin, mother of Formula Drift champion Vaughn Gittin Jr., drifts a 2024 Ford Mustang as her son coaches her from the passenger seat.
Dawn Gittin, mother of Formula Drift champion Vaughn Gittin Jr., drifts a 2024 Ford Mustang as her son coaches her from the passenger seat.

The thing about drifting is that the people who are really, really good at it make it look easy. But the 2024 Ford Mustang is designed to make those not skilled in the dark arts of oversteer feel like heroes, even for precious moments. Ahead of Mother’s Day, Formula Drift champ Vaughn Gittin Jr. hit Virginia International Raceway with Mustang Chief Engineer Laurie Transou to take Vaughn’s mom Dawn and Lauren’s daughter Claire out for some driving lessons.

Credit: Ford Performance via YouTube

The video begins with Dawn and Claire getting familiar with Launch Control — a feature that perhaps looks somewhat uneventful in video, though anyone who has ever experienced it in real life knows it packs a punch. From there, the crew takes to the skidpan to experiment with the Mustang’s new Drift Brake, which was developed with Gittin’s involvement and is available through the Performance Pack on all trims.


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My colleague Steve DaSilva explained how the Drift Brake worked back in September when the new ’Stang was announced. Steve knows his Formula Drift better than anyone I know, so I’ll defer to his expertise here:

The Mustang, like many modern cars, splits its parking brake off to a second, electronically controlled rear brake caliper. But it seems Ford’s performance engineers took a look at that split rear setup and went, “Hang on. Formula Drift cars have dual rear calipers. We can do something here.”

That “something” was to bring Vaughn Gittin Jr. on board, to help develop a drift brake that Ford claims is a “competition-ready system.” That’s a lot to live up to, especially when the dual rear calipers on FD cars are far more powerful than a little single-piston e-brake, but maybe the Blue Oval meant competitions at your local grassroots event.

Flick the car into Track Mode, and that brake handle becomes an unlatched lever tied straight to the secondary rear pistons — one that won’t lock itself in the engaged position mid-slide.

Of course, those who recall the Focus RS know that this isn’t the first time Ford has tried to pass down the power of drifting to the masses. As Gittin explains to Claire in the video, the Mustang’s Drift Brake only requires that the driver pull up the handbrake when steering in the direction they intend to drift, then simply let go of it while staying on the gas. Ideally on a closed course, because Ford is very clear that Drift Brake “should never be used on public roads.” (Here’s where you put your own Mustang crashing joke. Aren’t ad-libs fun?)

Anyway, Claire, Lauren and Dawn each leave the car with the unmistakable grin that only oversteer can provide, before testing the new pony car’s Line Lock mode for impromptu burnouts to cap a Mother’s Day I doubt anyone involved will soon forget.

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