Building a Drift Kart Sort Of

So when Googling around for good prices for kart racing slicks my daughter Christa saw an ad for kart drift tires from Monster Scooters and thinking it would be fun, ordered up a set of them. With the quick responsive handling of her race kart, in her head, she had images of doing the long high-speed drifts and linking turns that she always wanted to do in her kart.  In addition, to being a fast kart racer, Christa is a beginning drifter in cars and can do stuff like big circles, figure 8’s, initiate a drift from a straight line and link low speed turns so she has a pretty good idea of what it takes to drift something from throttle control to weight transfer and steering inputs.

The kart drift tires were actually thick molded PVC plastic sleeves that fit over the kart’s regular racing slick tires, if you have a typical racing kart, that would be the 11×7.10-5 size.

The sleeves had a slick surface to ride on that was hard and slippery. It’s really hard to drift a real racing kart because they have so much grip, and so little weight they stop sliding pretty quickly and it’s just about impossible to carry a drift through an entire long corner or to link turns.  They don’t have enough power to generate a lot of wheelspin to help break traction either.


  1. do you think putting the sleeves on the front would introduce enough slip to make it easier to manage? also, dad of the year?

    1. No, it would be really hard to control and you would still have the basic problem of not enough steering angle and too much Ackerman angle and too much front drag.

  2. When you say “a lot of ackerman angle”, what does that mean? More inside wheel scrub or less? I am confused… Cool article!

  3. Thanks for this writeup, I found it to be quite helpful. I am an amateur rally racer and I’m building an electric kart to get accessible seat time between rallies. I am very keen to turn it into a drift kart.

    What you wrote at the end matched up well with my own thoughts on how I might be able to turn this into well tuned a drifting machine. I will be playing around with the steering geometry – hoping that plus the insane torque from the electric motor is able to get the job done.

    Would you be willing to connect briefly on this? You seem incredibly knowledgeable on the subject, I think it would help tons. I’m more than happy to share my results with you! I don’t see a way to send you a message here. Am I missing something or is that the case? If so I will give you a burner email in here. Thanks!

  4. a few years back my son and 10 year old son and i used to play with an old margay sprint kar (mine) and an old Rup racing kart (his). both were terrible on at street drifting, but were AMAZING on grass and dirt with Harbor freight Pred motors. The instant torque and broader power band made throttle modulation sublime and even with drift slicks the Rup was a decent drifter if the speeds were low.

    Funny experience: I noticed that the jacking and Ackerman was great for grass and dirt drifting on kart slicks thanks to the lower surface friction. It allowed for CRAZY angle at high speeds and awesome feints.

    That’s said I have a big diameter rear axle. I flipped the rear wheels and mounted them backwards to narrow the rear track. That alone made the Kart less likely to spin out, even on pavement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *