Vaughn Gittin Jr. showed what it means to be a professional drifter by getting sideways in an unlikely vehicle, at an unlikely location. Gittin said he showed up at Germany’s legendary Nürburgring all set to drift his specially-modified Ford Mustang RTR … but the weather didn’t cooperate. So Gittin hit the track in a Ford F-150 Raptor instead, as the above video verifies.
With scores of corners spread out over 12.9 miles, the Nürburgring is a challenge for any vehicle, let alone a full-size pickup truck designed for off-roading. The Raptor does sport a 450-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 engine and, like all F-150s, an aluminum body. But it’s still pretty bulky, and its suspension and tires are set up for crossing deserts, not lapping circuits.
Gittin manages some pretty good slides nonetheless. The fact that the Raptor can probably handle off-track excursions better than the average hunkered-down track car probably gave him a little breathing room. Gittin has some experience drifting F-150s: He oversaw the build of an F-150 drift truck for the 2014 SEMA show, complete with five Recaro racing seats so he could take people for rides.
Given that the goal was to go sideways and look cool, rather than outright speed, Gittin and the Raptor probably didn’t trouble the lap record for pickup trucks. For a vaguely similar comparison, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio currently holds the record for an SUV making its way around the Nürburgring, at 7 minutes, 51.7 seconds. Last year, a Lanzante McLaren P1 LM lapped the track in 6:43.2, giving it the coveted lap record for production vehicles. That is, if you consider a limited-edition supercar built primarily for track use to be a “production vehicle.”
While Ford has built a performance truck designed for pavement — the F-150 SVT Lightning — it shifted its focus to off-road performance when the first Raptor was introduced as a 2010 model. The current generation, launched during the 2017 model year, traded its predecessor’s V8 for twin-turbo V6 power in the name of fuel economy. Ford now has a smaller Ranger Raptor as well, but it’s unclear if that model will be sold in the U.S. Maybe Gittin will take that mini Raptor for a spin next.