After Ken attended his first class as a teenager at the Jim Russell Racing School in Sonoma, CA, he was invited back with the other quickest students of the year for the school’s prestigious Scholarship Shootout for a chance to win $100,000 to jumpstart his career. Ken declined this invitation, using his entry funds towards a degree from UCLA. He then spent the next ten years wearing various hats: EMT, Peace Corps volunteer, classroom teacher, principal, Department of Veterans Affairs and startups.
At the age of 26, Ken decided to quit everything and move to Canada to attend the Bridgestone Racing Academy to trade labor, working as a mechanic, for seat time in the school’s F2000 race cars.
In his last race, Ken finished ahead of one of the instructors and set a lap time faster than the Chief Instructor. Realizing he still had pace even after ten years, Ken moved back to California and was offered an instructor position with Simraceway Performance Driving Center, formerly known as the Jim Russell Racing School.
In 2017, Ken and his friends threw a house party and fundraiser in the hills of Oakland, CA. It was a wild success and Ken purchased a racecar from the proceeds. Competing in the SCCA Majors series, Ken finished the season with a 33% win rate, 50% pole position, 66% podium rate and one track record all on first time tracks.
In 2018, he moved to Germany to race on the legendary Nürburgring race track. With only two laps under his belt, Ken finished 7th in his first pro race, becoming the highest finishing American in his class and the highest finishing Japanese driver overall. Soon after, Ken accepted the position of Director of Driving Academy for the famed RSR Nurburg and RSR SPA, one of Europe’s largest performance car rental companies and driving schools in Germany and Belgium respectively. In his last race at the Nürburgring, Ken’s car was troubled with mechanical issues, yet he posted a lap time ten seconds faster than Nissan’s factory drivers in the same car and conditions.
Ken has since been spending his time speaking and working for various teams and manufacturers from around the world, as well as coaching up and coming talent and the passionate track day enthusiast.