At a Halloween party in 2012, Ryan and I tossed around ideas for drift training closer to home, in between events, where we could also involve our kids.
My first proof-of-concept was done by Thanksgiving, a month later. The kart was electric, slow, and only ran for a few minutes. As a birthday present to myself the following week, I converted the kart to gas, and instantly had great fun. Then, friends wanted one.
Using a readily available frame that was not designed for drifting, Ryan and I needed to modify the frame. We built another version for him, changing the pedal placement, steering geometry, motor mount, and more. After making a few more, we were tired of all the fabrication and welding to build a good drifter for other friends. We already had time-consuming day jobs.
New year 2013, I formed Khana Karts LLC to make no-hassle, all-thrill drift-karts for big and small drivers. By March, I designed and built a prototype that was too stiff and costly to reproduce. Luckily, another friend in our neighborhood owns and runs a state-of-the-art sheet-metal fabrication and coating facility. Since big cars migrated to sheet-metal long ago, why not karts?
Road karts typically have no suspension, except the spring of the frame itself. Modern race karts are designed stiff so that in a turn, the inside rear wheel lifts from G-forces and loses grip to carve a turn, despite solid axle and no differential. A drift-kart with plastic rear wheel rings has no grip anyway, so a stiff frame is useless and makes control very twitchy. Using a sheet-metal design, I solved two problems: more chassis flex for easier control and economical manufacturing.
By end of July 2013, we made four prototypes of my new design. They withstood a crowd of drivers at a local drift event, and we are still playing on them today. Over the next three months, I made several design tweaks resulting in the first ever production-ready kart designed specifically for drifting and gymkhana.
Five years later now, the current design is my 4th major generation. The basic ride principles remain the same, but with each evolution, I improved durability and simplified assembly. With front brakes, optional rear handbrake, and manual clutch, it feels as close to the real thing that you can get, from a kart.
Our karts safely mix fun between ages, with parents and children drifting together, building mutual trust and respect. The sooner kids can start learning to drive, the more those skills can develop and transfer. By the time young drivers get a drivers license, Khana kids should have super car control. And as an adult, it's a serious hoot.
Most of us drive cars at least 10% of our waking hours, but never trained on real car control. And, most people cannot afford traditional motorsport racing. Khana Karts brings an intense vehicle dynamics clinic to the masses. Many law enforcement agencies economically train their street patrol using similar techniques, with plastic rings on real car wheels.
In a Khana Kart, you get hardcore training, at a fraction of the price, while feeling indescribable happiness.
Seth leads network deploy automation at Google and earned an Aerospace Engineering degree from UVA. He started amateur sports car racing in 2003, then go-kart racing in 2010. Currently, he races a 2002 Porsche GT3 Cup, a 1973 Porsche 911 RSR, and drifts a 1995 Nissan 240SX. Seth also instructs performance driving for organizations such as Aston Martin NA, Porsche Club of America, Apex Academy, Corinthians Vintage Auto Racing, BMW CCA, Classic BMW, and BMW Teen Street Survival.
Ryan manages supply chain at an international chemical company, and he enjoys track events in his Corvette Z06. His son started in a Khana Kart at age 4. At 5 he got an age exemption to start racing karts. Now, he's leading his pack in Atlanta. Ryan and family moved away a couple years ago, pursuing his actual career. He has no official affiliation with Khana Karts now, except in spirit. This product would not have started without him. These days, Ryan spends his free time prepping and maintaining his son's race karts.