LOS ANGELES, Ca. - Monster World Rally Team and fellow Monster/Ford driver Vaughn Gittin Jr. are joining forces for this weekend's Gymkhana GRID Ken Block Invitational event at Irwindale Speedway in Irwindale, California. The 2010 Formula Drift Champion will be leaving his Ford Mustang GT at home in favor of Block's personal 1978 Ford Escort RS rally car.
"I was pumped when Ken invited me to join the Monster World Rally Team for Gymkhana GRID and drive his sick classic Escort," says Gittin. "I've been going crazy trying to have some 'no-pressure fun' since I took home the Formula Drift Championship back in October."
A self-taught driver, Gittin rose through the drifting ranks from his debut in 2004, clinching the Formula D World Championship this year. With his usual competition Mustang unavailable for the event, Vaughn jumped at the opportunity to pilot Ken's own 1978 Ford Escort RS rally car.
"JR and I have been good friends for a few years now, but have never had the chance to compete in the same event, so when I heard that he wasn't going to get the Mustang out to GRID, I just had to offer him the Escort," says Block. "I'm stoked to see him behind the wheel. That car suits his style... it only likes to be driven crossed-up."
While the name "Ford Escort" may not strike a chord with many US automotive fans, its British variant has been synonymous with rally racing for decades, known for its agility and rear-wheel-drive balance. Block's 1978 Mark II model is outfitted with an individual throttle-body Millington engine pushing out 260 horsepower through a paddle shifted mechanical/sequential gearbox, all in an ultra lightweight package. And while it may not boast the excessive power of the other competition cars at GRID, it makes up for the deficit in pure, unadulterated fun.
"The Escort is definitely quite a bit underpowered compared to my Mustang; however, if I can't have a blast with a lightweight car that has 260hp and paddle-shifters, then I definitely have a problem!" says Gittin.
Click HERE: to check out the Gymkhana GRID Invitational promo clip extravaganza.