1972 BMW 2002
1,990cc M10 OHC inline four-cylinder, 205+ hp @ 7,300 rpm
1,900 lbs. (approx.)
Scott and Fran Hughes (since 2011)
Sunset, South Carolina
BMW’s 2002 was always at a disadvantage to the lighter and more powerful Porsches and Alfa Romeos in the 2.0-liter class, but the Miller & Norburn team made its 2002 into surprisingly effective weapon in the IMSA BF Goodrich Radial Challenge series.
A 2002 racer in the SCCA Trans-Am series in 1970 and ’71, Russ Norburn switched to IMSA for 1972. At the end of that season, Norburn teamed up with engine specialist Preston Miller to form Miller & Norburn Racing in Durham, NC. The pair hired driver Nick Craw, 37, the former Peace Corps director who’d left his job to go racing. Most of Craw’s experience was in open-wheelers, but he adapted quickly to the BMW.
The BF Goodrich series required nearly-stock cars, and even ride height and springs had to remain stock. M&N started with a salvaged 1600, to which Norburn fitted his own adjustable anti-roll bars and ballast to offset the driver’s weight. M&N improved braking by using tii parts with high-temperature pads/shoes they’d commissioned, and water cooling up front “until IMSA outlawed it,” Craw says.
Miller improved the engine with American pistons and cams and Stahl headers. He tested each engine on the dyno, and he ran in differentials to make sure they were “good and loose” and wouldn’t overheat. “We had to be very inventive. Of necessity, we made production parts work for racing,” Miller says.
“We had only one engine failure, and it was my fault, not the car’s,” Craw confirms.
In 1973, Craw won more races than any other driver, and he ended the season as co-champion with Amos Johnson—winning BMW’s first US national championship. He’d stay with Miller & Norburn through 1975, missing the ’74 title by a few points despite winning 6 races, and taking his second championship in ’75.
The Miller & Norburn race car seen here started as a 1600 purchased from a junkyard in Durham. At M&N, it was fitted with a roll cage and modified constantly as M&N developed new parts. Sold by the team at the end of 1975 if not before, the car was raced and modified continuously for more than a decade.
It had been almost fully disassembled when Billy Revis found it for sale in Greensboro, NC in late 1993. Revis restored it to SCCA GT-4 spec, which permitted extensive mods including Turbo-style fender flares, then entered it in the first BMW CCA Club Race at Moroso in 1995. At the end of the season, Revis sold the car to Bo Lemmon, whose son Mark refurbished it twice before selling it to current owners Scott and Fran Hughes in February 2011. Scott and Fran organized BMW CCA Club Racing, and Scott continues to race the M&N 2002 in vintage events up and down the East Coast.