Vintage racing is a popular sport and continues to grow steadily with competition coming from the BMW 2002, Datsun 510, and Alfa Romeo sedan models (known as ‘tin tops’). Car enthusiasts are looking to find, restore, preserve, and drive these race cars on the track – including longtime motorsport fan, Pat Womack, general manager of Laurel BMW of Westmont.
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Womack purchased a shell of a 2002 that desperately needed an overhaul. It had no engine or transmission, the roll cage lacked safety features, and cosmetically, it wasn’t up to Womack’s standards – you get the point. The vehicle also had to meet published vintage racing specifications for organizations such as SVRA, VARA, and others.
Now Womack needed to complete and restore the car. Researching online, he viewed an impressive 18 second video of an M10 racing engine revving on a test stand uploaded by Vintage BMW Racing (the ‘screen name’ of Blasko Racing, LLC). He contacted the company, and after a 15-minute conversation said, “I’ll send you the car.”
They agreed to stay true to what the BMW 2002 was in its hey day with hardcore ‘70s styling – the body of the car has period correct turbo flares found on the 1975 model – and many original BMW factory parts were used in the 2,000 pd. sedan that are still available and sold by the Bavarian company today.
Ken Blasko, owner of Blasko Racing, built Womack a 2.0-liter M10 engine. It’s an OEM block and cylinder head with racing internals including a lightened crankshaft, forged rods, custom forged pistons, a Schrick camshaft, Blasko’s stainless-steel valves/valve spring combination, and topped with a Weber 38/38 carburetor (a ‘downdrafter’). Other features include shortened and custom-valved Bilstein shocks/dampers, and custom springs. Legendary SCCA racer, Tom Cleave set up the cockpit according to Womack’s driving style and Safecraft harnesses and nets, as well as, a Hans-Recaro racing seat were installed.
By definition Blasko, is a true “gearhead.” However, one wouldn’t have known that fact earlier in his advertising and marketing career. It was only after his kids went off to college that he “switched gears” and began to restore BMW 2002s, which has become a full-time job and his expertise.
Blasko’s garage is located on the West Coast, where he prepares and supports a number of vintage BMW sedans running in VARA and SVRA, including his own. The business of race cars is a strong path for his future plans, as is the related Track Support program. An arrive-and-drive rental racecar (a BMW 2002, of course) seems to be a natural progression for 2019.
Currently, Womack’s vehicle is running in the B Sedan Lite (BSL) class of SVRA’s B Sedan Challenge Series. Several cars from Blasko Racing are also running in that series. The National Championship will be held at COTA in November 2018.
Additionally, for Womack, his rebuilt 2002 sedan has extra significance because it’s also the catalyst for a new BMW Classic Program that’ll be available at Laurel BMW of Westmont’s new 77,589 sq. ft.facility. There will be dedicated technicians and bays in the service area, where vintage cars can be repaired to preserve their heritage. More details to follow.
Note: Womack’s racing partners include H&R Springs, Hoosier Racing Tire, Fall-Line Motorsports, and Cutting Edge Graphics installed the vehicle wrap.
Laurel BMW of Westmont: https://www.laurelbmw.com/
Blasko Racing, LLC: http://blaskoracing.com/
Photography by Maggie McKay