Vaughn Gittin Jr.

Matt Madrigali – Formula Drift Pro 2 Driver [INTERVIEW]

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Wrecked Magazine: Who are you and how did you get your Pro 2 license?

Matt Madrigali: My name is Matt Madrigali and I’ve been drifting in Northern California for about 12 years. I have been competing in the Golden Gate Drift ProAm series where I won the championship in 2015 and earned my 2016 Formula Drift Pro2 License.

WM. Can you give us a break down of your car and what sponsors you have on board?

Matt Madrigali: My car is the same car I’ve been driving for 9 years now with a host of upgrades to make it safer and more competitive for Formula D. It’s your standard S13 240sx with a Chevy LS3 which I pulled out of Rapper Dan Savage’s Sikky truck back in 2013. I’ve switched to Wisefab front and rear suspension this year as well. Transmission and diff have been upgraded to a GSR 4 speed and a Winters quick change unit for 2016. The car is underpowered for professional drifting, but reliable. I currently have a fantastic group of sponsors who have helped me rebuild the car for 2016. Car N Bike Moto is a body shop based in Vallejo California. Alfred and his team did a complete color change to my car with exceptional quality under a very tight schedule. I have always had my car painted there and their quality and attention to detail is second to none. Exedy Clutch has been another huge supporter of my program. Their products are simply the best and I’m happy to have them be a part of my team as reliability is the main focus of my build. Cosmis Racing Wheels bring style and performance to the car. I currently run their MR2 and SR5 wheels with a 17/18 stagger. D-Magic was the brains behind the new look for 2016. The time Michael spent making my ideas reality really shows in the detail and style that the car has. I couldn’t be happier with the new look. It brings something a little different, a Japanese style to Formula D. Nitto Tire has stepped up and helped me with tires for this season as well. Very excited to be running such a high end tire, and I’ve very excited to be a part of the Nitto team. Sikky Manufacturing has been a big part of my program even before taking an interest in my team. I have their full engine swap mount kit, heads and Winters quick change subframe setup in my car currently. The quality of their parts is unsurpassed in the industry and I’m happy to be working with them for the 2016 season. Finally, Fineline tuning has been a big help with dyno time and build advice for my program. Miles and his crew are based out of Santa Rosa, California and focus mainly on Subaru performance, though they do have a big hand in the drifting community. They work with some local friends from Drift Team Animal Style, keeping their cars all running perfectly.

WM. What track are you most excited about and most nervous to tackle this season?

Matt Madrigali: Road Atlanta. Road Atlanta. ROAD ATLANTA! Easily my favorite track on the calendar.

WM: Can you name one drifter you really want to see in a battle in Pro 2 this year?

I always love driving with the local guys. I would have to say that I’m most excited to drive with Joe Tardiff. We have been driving together in ProAm for a few years now. We would go back in fourth on qualifying 1-2 and finishing 1-2 all year last year. I relished our battles and I look forward to throwing down on the biggest stage with one of the best!

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WM: Who is your favorite drifter in the world and who to you derive driving inspiration from?

Matt Madrigali: Favorite drifter has to be Vaughn. He’s consistent and aggressive at the same time. I remember watching during his championship year and knowing that he was on another level that year. I just see him as someone I would like to emulate on and off the track.

WM: Who do you think will win the Formula Drift Pro Championship this season?

Matt Madrigali: It’s going to be tight. I think Odi could put a good championship run together. From a car build standpoint Odi is my spirit animal. With my car being underpowered compared to some of the vehicles coming to the championship, I look to examples like Odi for inspiration. Chassis setup and grip are just as important as raw numbers and I think he has all the tools and talent necessary to take home the biggest prize in drifting.

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WM: What is one hurdle or headache you ran into during the off-season gearing up for Pro 2? I can only choose one?

Matt Madrigali: It’s basically been everything, the whole process. Getting the car ready in my garage with limited funding, and also working full time builds a lot of pressure. I can’t forget to thank Golden Gate Drift’s organizer Luke Crowell and Red Baron Racing’s Donovan Brockway for all their help. Without them this wouldn’t be possible.

WM: What advice can you give to the upcoming Pro 2 drivers who are currently in Pro Am?

Matt Madrigali: Regardless of budget be ready to dedicate everything to this. Professional motorsports take dedication.

Street Driven Tour’s Best of Drifting in 2015 [VIDEO]

The Street Driven Tour is about to be in full swing for the 2016 season with its collaboration event with Hyperfest at Virginia International Raceway. This video is a compilation of the best drifting action the event saw in 2015. From multi-car tandem battles to drift soccer this event is a fun day of sliding for everyone. The 2016 schedule is out and tickets are for sale right now for the upcoming events in Virginia, St. Louis, Atlanta, and Las Vegas!

 

Vaughn Gittin Jr. Drag Races his Competition Cars [VIDEO]

Vaughn Gittin Jr. took his two competition cars out for a good old fashioned drag race! His new 2016 Competition-Spec Ford Mustang RTR sure looks like a fast machine. That speed won’t matter so much at Long Beach but it seems other drivers will be scrambling to chase him at rounds such as Road Atlanta. This race is essentially 10 years of development in the old car with a straight axle in the rear versus one year of development in the new car with the Ford Mustang’s all new Independent Rear Suspension. Vaughn is set to debut his new car at the Streets of Long Beach for the opening round of Formula Drift on April 9th.

Battle Drift is Here [VIDEO]

Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Daigo Saito tear up an abandoned Russian village in Japan for your viewing pleasure. Daigo Saito is in his Lamborghini and Vaughn Gittin Jr. is in Mustang RTR. Enjoy!

2016 Street Driven Tour is Here [SCHEDULE]

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The Street Driven Tour just released a solid 2016 schedule found above and below. The series attracted some of the best drifters in America over 2015 including Vaughn Gittin Jr., Ryan Tuerck, Chris Forsberg, Matt Powers, Forrest Wang, Odi Bakchis, Geoff Stoneback and many more! The four venues are VIRginia International Raceway, Gateway Motorsports Park, Atlanta Motor Speedway, and Las Vegas Motor Speedway to round out the new season. Below is a video of Street Driven Las Vegas!

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D1 Grand Prix Binge Monday Thanks to YouTube [VIDEO]

A big thanks to Blaze1 for finding this YT link and posting it up in our comments of the other D1GP post. This 2 hour+ video walks you through the complete D1GP Round 6 weekend at Odaiba. Vaughn Gittin Jr. made it to the Top 16 and lost to Team Orange member Naoto Suenaga after making contact with him. Vaughn took to FB to accuse Naoto Suenaga of stoping suddenly and then once he received contact for overselling it to the judges instead of drifting on in tandem. It sounds like the games and tactics of Formula Drift aren’t just limited to the American series if you believe Vaughn Gittin’s rant on FB. Sit back, watch the round, and enjoy this unique D1GP event for yourself.

2015 Formula Drift Championship [RESULTS]

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The 2015 championship is a wrap! Fredric Aasbo followed up his second place finish last year with a championship in 2015. Ken Gushi was right on his heels the whole way in what wound up a Scion dominated season. The Scion brand finished 1,2, and 4 during this Formula Drift season which is unparalleled by any OEM in this sports history. Chris Forsberg took his Nissan 370z with a respectable 3rd place season finish to follow up with his 14 championship run. Here is how the Top 20 finished up for 2015 –

1. Fredric Aasbo – 530
2. Ken Gushi – 431
3. Chris Forsberg – 382
4. Ryan Tuerck – 367
5. Odi Bakchis – 363
6. Masashi Yokoi – 324
7. Justin Pawlak – 287
8. Forrest Wang – 285
9. Matt Field – 282
10. Alec Hohnadell – 272
11. Kenneth Moen – 247
12. Daigo Saito – 238
13. Vaughn Gittin Jr – 226
14. Dean Kearney – 220
15. Chelsea DeNofa – 212
15. Tyler McQuarrie – 212
17. Pat Mordaunt – 211
18. Pat Goodin – 207
19. Mad Mike Whiddett – 192
20. Charles Ng – 191

Vaughn Gittin Jr. is Going to Miss Irwindale speedway

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Well, Vaughn Gittin Jr. has made the news official that he won’t be making Irwindale Speedway next month per his FB. This leaves just Dai Yoshihara, Ken Gushi, and Chris Forsberg as the three drivers to compete in every Formula Drift event in history to date. It will be an odd thing to not see Vaughn Gittin Jr. turn a wheel at the House of Drift coming up next month. His backup car is currently on the way to Japan to compete in the D1GP Odaiba weekend. Here is a look at his crash from Texas Motor Speedway in case you missed it. He will probably fall to around 15th in the championship with a no show at Irwindale. He is reportedly in the process of building a new S550 chassis for Formula Drift 2016 now.

Prodrift Academy expands their operations to Saudi Arabia

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The ProDrift academy, which was started in Ireland by the same team who founded the Prodrift Irish Championship drifting series, announced this week that they will be expanding their operations to Saudi Arabia. The Prodrift Academy helped train 15 year old Jack Shanahan, who is the 2015 British Drift Championships champion, and several current Irish Drift Championship drivers have been guest instructors during the off season. This year marks the third year that the Prodrift Academy has been in UAE, and sixth overall year of operation. Saudi Arabia’s car culture has been exploding recently, and Vaughn Gittin Jr. has even made a few trips to help promote the Ford Mustang over there.

Prodrift Academy has setup a new Facebook page for the new location, and should be hosting students in the next month or so. Looks like students will be driving a Mustang RTR in Saudi Arabia, which seems like a great car to learn in!

Vaughn Gittin Jr. is D1 Grand Prix Bound

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It was almost 10 years ago when Vaughn Gittin Jr. defeated all the D1GP comers in the D1 Vs. the World event at Irwindale Speedway back in 2005. Vaughn was kind enough to upload his road to victory on YouTube (you can watch below if you can stomach 10 year old crappy drifting).

This sheds quite a bit of light on his announcement where he hints he will be missing Irwindale Speedway which we broke earlier this week. The backup car he would normally use to replace his 2014 Formula Drift competition car is on its way to Japan for D1GP! He will be attending the final round in Tokyo on October 24th/25th. Here are the details from his PR –

“Since winning the D1GP USA vs. Japan in 2005, I have wanted to take my Ford Mustang RTR and my team to compete in Japan where drifting started,” says Champion drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr. “I am pumped that ten years later, the dream has become reality and I will be joining the Monster Energy Japan crew in downtown Tokyo for the final round 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.”

Ten years ago at Irwindale Speedway, Vaughn battled the best-of-the-best Japanese drivers in order to win the D1GP USA vs. Japan event, becoming not only the first American to win a D1GP event, but by piloting his Ford Mustang, this was the first time in the series that an American car dominated against drifting’s traditional Japanese vehicles. This monumental win of Vaughn’s was heard around the world and undoubtedly put American drifting on the map, in a Japanese-originated and dominated sport. Here is a VIDEO summary of Vaughn’s 2005 D1GP win.