By on October 30, 2018

Ford Performance hooked up with drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr. and his RTR Vehicles team to produce a rather curious offspring. Their love child, the Series 1 Mustang RTR, pays homage to the track car that inspired it while attempting to remain grounded in the world of daily driving.

The limited-edition model (package, really) can spawn from any Mustang GT or EcoBoost equipped with Performance Pack 1 and is said to be trackworthy, but it seems like it’s not sacrificing many of the sport coupe’s streetable characteristics to get there. An interesting choice, considering we’ve seen loads of amateur drift cars that don’t even have bumpers or carpeting. 

While we’re absolutely certain you can slide this car sideways out of whatever parking lot your heart desires, saying its set up for drifting might be a bit of a stretch.

Mechanically, there’s not much new going on here. The Performance Pack adds Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires stretched over 19-inch wheels, a set of Brembo brakes, some suspension tweaks, and aerodynamic accouterments, but can also be had à la carte on standard Stangs. The same can be said for Ford’s MagneRide, which is a sweet system that remains an optional extra (and might not be ideal for routine track work requiring a very specific setup — like drifting — even though it does stiffen up the front end).

In fact, the only unique mechanical embellishments we can see on the RTR Mustang are the adjustable sway bars and a staggered wheel setup that allows for 19 x 9.5-inch RTR units up front and 19 x 10 inchers in the back. Those are wrapped in Nitto NT555 G2 tires, not the Pilot Sports you’d normally receive. You also get RTR Tactical Performance Lowering Springs, which Ford curiously did not mention, and a Gurney flap on the back of the spoiler. We’re not convinced it’s enough to sent it light years beyond any Mustang GT rocking Performance Pack 2 upgrades, but it’s probably still loads of fun to drive.

If anything, this drift-inspired coupe seems like an upgraded road car that’s giving Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s ride the thumbs up from the sidelines, rather than something about to head out to the track by itself. Most of the standout features are aesthetic in nature. There’s an illuminated RTR-inspired grill and special badging just about everywhere — this includes the fenders, floor mats, shift knob, deck lid, radiator cover, and puddle lamps.

However, Ford claims the RTR conversion kit could be “tailored for driving action from spirited backroads to crushing track laps.” We didn’t notice the latter going down in any of the press images, though.

“Our goal was to take the driving and owner experience of the iconic Ford Mustang to the next level,” said Gittin, who also happens to be president RTR Vehicles. “This collaboration has created a Mustang that offers smile-inducing street driving, diverse capability on the track and a very distinctive owner experience for those looking to stand out from the crowd.”

Heading to RTR’s website for more information, there was a lessened emphasis on drifting. Maybe Ford’s marketing team simply became overexcited by the motorsport connection, realizing it was popular with the young folks. But if that’s what you hope to do with the Series 1 Mustang RTR, you probably can. Just remember that it’s not exclusively designed for going sideways.

This vehicle comes with a Ford factory limited warranty that you’ll definitely want to brush up on before taking it to a track. The limited model run will cap at 500 vehicles, all of which will be individually numbered on the dashboard with Gittin’s signature. Sales and installation of the Series 1 RTR package will begin at select Ford dealers starting in early 2019.

[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

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