Vaughn Gittin Jr vs Daigo Saito Drift Insanity in Niigata, Japan

Vaughn Gittin Jr has unseated Ken Block as America’s best drifter. But that could be a simple matter of having the faster horse. Though they both drive for Monster Energy  Gittin’s Ford Mustang has twice the beans of Block’s all-wheel drive Ford Focus RS. The two decorated drifters went abroad last summer to the Goodwood Festival of Speed to show off for the fans. You can see for yourself Gittin’s run was far superior.

But is Vaughn Gittin Jr the best drift specialist in the world? Not so fast. Back in 2015, Vaughn traveled to Niigata, Japan in his 550 HP 5.0L V-8 Mustang RTR to take on Daigo Saito’s 650 HP V-12 Drift Lamborghini. Built by Liberty Walk and Phat Five Racing, Saito’s AWD to RWD-converted beast was more than up for the fight.

battledrift vaughn gittin jr, fuel curve

In this visually stunning drift session, the two Hooning heavyweights ran the forested, narrow backroads into the abandoned Niigata Russian Village. Like something from a post-apocalyptic world, the village provided the perfect backdrop for these outrageous machines to create some mechanical mayhem. How many takes do you think were required here? After they get done thrashing the roads leading to the abandoned rock quarry, night falls and things get straight-up disco mode with glow sticks and flaming trashcans. Check out the closing “liner notes” showing the camera jib truck and in-car video from the trailing vehicle. The film crew might have been as talented as the drifters themselves!

One thing is clear after watching this hi-speed ballet. Saito is a bad ass. Every ounce of his talent is equal to Gittin Jr. Seeing them fender-to-fender in lockstep is some of the most bitchin’ footage we have ever seen. The intestinal fortitude required to be in a full opposite lock drift mere inches from cliffs and trees makes our arm hairs curl up and say “dayummmmmm!”

Hashtagged as #BATTLEDRIFT – we have to say these hooners are straight rulers. Bravo #BATTLEDRIFT

Senior Editor, Digital Media

With three decades of automotive journalism under his belt, John Drummond serves as Senior Editor – Digital Media for Fuel Curve and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association where he has worked since 1990. Drummond got his start in motorsports reporting by making a fake press pass to gain starting line access. The ruse worked and he began covering auto races as far back as 1986 in Northern California, eventually getting his stories published worldwide. He has owned and driven everything from a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere to a ridiculously modded Subaru WRX as well as a string of Mercedes AMG’s, most of which had the warranties voided the day after leaving the dealership.

Share With: