Especially for guys alive when the Jets last won a Super Bowl, identifying future stewards of car enthusiast culture represents a real concern. There exists a certain uneasiness as they straddle the intersection of history and hope.

From time to time Drivin’ News enjoys exploring exciting and positive examples of the hope. Some weeks ago teenage demolition derby driver Christian Farquhar spoke about his passion for smashin’.

Now, comes the story of two inspired and talented young racing enthusiasts. Partnering in a shared unconventional vision with a shoestring budget, these BMW aficionados plan to intrude on the local JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) dominance in drifting with a worked 1990 BMW E30 coupe.

Meet Dominick Carluccio and Jamie Cooper.

Wurst Käse Motorsports


Left: Jamie Cooper      Right: Dominick Carluccio


In their mid-twenties, whip smart and quick to laugh, both Dominick and Jamie speak fast car fluently with a distinct euro-performance accent.

The whole drifting thing had not been the inspiration for their initial 1990 E30 coupe project. Dom bought the car simply because he liked it. However, the car itself inspired the drifting dream. Dom says, “We were amazed by how well it handled and the power from that 2.5-liter inline 6.” Clearly they felt the E30 had the bones to make a hell of a drift car. Seeing is believing and what they were about to see set their smoking wheels in motion and gave birth to their joint venture, Wurst Kase Motorsports.

Jamie says, “It all came together about a year or so ago, Dom and I went to a drifting event at Virginia International Race Track and by chance connected with drifting team “Insane Wayz.” “Insane Wayz” campaigns on the Professional Formula Drift (Formula D) circuit with a BMW E30 powered by the original M20 engine hooked up to a turbo diesel Cummins turbo. Accepting a generous offer from an “Insane Wayz” team member, they received a full tour of the car. Both Dom and Jamie took notice of how well everything fit together and functioned.

Rear clip of E30 4-door

Dom says, “We’re just sitting there reviewing all the modifications and we are going ‘we could do that and we could do that. Yeah, we could do it!” Returning home they immediately bought two 1990 E30s with a vision of turning them into one badass drift car. One, a coupe, suffered from a damaged rear clip. The second, a four-door would donate a perfect rear clip to complete the coupe.

A little history can help better understand the attraction of drifting as a motorsport. Born in the mountains of Japan, drifting grew out of a driving technique used in the very narrow uphill and downhill tandem-type races unique to these Japanese mountain road courses in the 1980s.

When tandem racing on narrow roads, an often successful way to get in front of the other car demands pushing more power forward towards the entrance to a turn.

Such techniques quickly caught on with drivers who recognized that not only were these techniques really cool but they could actually be used to win races by drifting past their opponent then regaining control. This gave the drifter the significant advantage of being in front on a very, very narrow road.

Dom says, “Drifting exploded on the Japanese driving scene in the early 1990s with everybody and their mothers learning how to drift.” Interestingly Dom adds, “It became enormously popular as an element of Japanese motorsport but also as a tool for everyday safer driving. It showed people how to handle a car when they don’t have traction on any of the tires.”

While drifting tentatively poked its nose into American consciousness around the end of the 1990s, according to Dom and Jamie drifting slid into the broad public awareness around 2006 with the release of “Tokyo Drift” from the Fast and Furious franchise of films.

Now, in 2020 with two donor cars and a vision, a 2-year plan quickly took shape. Dom and Jamie would create and sort out the E30 drift car while simultaneously developing the necessary  drifting chops.

Dom says, “We’ll be starting in Class C which is basically bare-bones straight beginner. We won’t be running tandem with anybody and we’re subject to fewer regulations.”

Their focus targets getting the Frankencar drifter sorted to the point where it gets accepted into the entry class. Jamie says, “Then we race it, see how we like it and all the while sort out the car as we go.” With a laugh Dom says, “Fundamentally for the first year we’ll be up in the air learning to fly in a plane still being built.” Achieving a level of success in their first year would put a move up to class B in their crosshairs.

Interestingly, they intend to have two seats in the car. They will run together as a team with both driver and passenger seat occupied. They figure their understanding of the dynamics of their car will benefit significantly from the two perspectives.

When asked if the added weight of a passenger will negatively impact speed and handling, Dom’s response revealed the joyous spirit, raucous pleasure and camaraderie built into the fabric of the E30 Frankencar 2-year plan. Dom said, “Yes, I guess so, but it’s also about having fun. Bringing the other guy along for the ride just makes the experience better.” With attitudes like this the future of the car enthusiast culture will be in great hands.

Clearly Dom and Jamie savor the personal challenge of competing with a 30-year old car. They relish the idea of personally creating a unique and competitive drift car that does not employ the latest and greatest “just write a big check” factory technology.

While Japanese cars enjoy an enormous testing and tuning reference library, very little detailed information exists to help Wurst Kase Motorsports in its mission to excel. Don and Jamie agree saying, A lot of the tweaks and engineering nuances will be our own. But we kinda’ like that.” Dom says, “With the E30 we’re taking a far less refined chassis that, counter intuitively, differs from newer ones in a lot of good ways. We intend to develop those advantages, bring it to the track and accomplish things that we haven’t seen a lot of people do.” “Amen,” says Jamie.

Trying the new steering wheel and gearbox on for size

With completion of the stock E30’s significant capability upgrade, Frankencar will head straight to the track where Dom and Jamie intend to explore its new athleticism. The E30’s sorting process will coincide with Dom’s and Jamie’s progress along the drifting learning curve. Necessity demands achieving a level of mastery that allows them to finesse Frankencar at the boundary of its limits for maximum performance.

Formula D sees cars drifting through turns at 80 to 100 miles per hour. In the lower classes cornering speeds fall into the 40 to 60 mph range.

With their sights set on early spring of 2021, Dom and Jamie exuberantly anticipate the unknown when, finally, the rubber smokes the road.

Dom says, “Drifting is something I’ve always wanted to learn. This is the perfect experience for me to further develop my driving skills and better understand the vehicle dynamics when operating at the limit.” Dom believes wholeheartedly that mastery of drifting as a driving skill could save your life.

In anticipating the coming race season Dom says, “Honestly, this is something we haven’t done before, but it’s something we both have dreamt of doing. We can’t wait to just get on the track.”

Jamie pretty much sums up the Wurst Kase Motorsports mindset saying, “I think no matter what, even if it goes up in a blaze of fire, I’ll be happy and smile at the end of the day if we can get it out there for the season.”