Monterey, Calif. (8 September 2013) – With team owner Luis Bacardi and wife Jennifer on hand, Matt Plumb and Nick Longhi combined to bring the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche home in 16th place in the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival as the team moved closer to the goal of securing a second consecutive GRAND-AM Championship on Sunday.
The race didn’t feature the team’s trademark speed and strategy to create results. Instead, it was teamwork that ruled the day after debris got into the motor area and shredded the serpentine belt. The part is a crucial one, driving a range of motor functions including the all-important water pump to cool the motor.
Recognizing the issue as the race hit the 30 minute mark, Longhi returned the car to pit lane after turning the motor off at the top of the hill and coasting all the way into the pit box to preserve the motor.
“Something–could have been a rock or any other kind of debris–shredded the belt,” said Longhi. “I felt the power steering fail. The belt also runs the water pump so the car started to overheat and I had to stop. Obviously that’s a big fix. They changed it fast, but unfortunately it’s not the kind of thing you can change during a race and not lose laps, so we lost laps but we’ll never give up and keep going.”
The team jumped right into the overheated area and started to work on the very complicated repair, which would likely take several days in the service bay of the dealer down the street. But for Rum Bum Racing, it was less than 20 minutes work although it came at the cost of nearly 15 laps lost to the leader.
Plumb took over the driving duties, and worked on making the laps as he tried to convert the team’s hard work into crucial championship points.
“What goes around, comes around, and we have gotten our share of great luck this season,” said Plumb after the race. “Everything has gone our way from strategy to mechanical durability, so it’s just a matter of time when something’s going to happen. But it’s just kind of crushing when it happens at a time like this. The good news is that we’ve got a big enough lead where we can come back, not trying to do anything stupid, like we’ve done for the whole season and see what happens. The Rum Bum crew, once again—a problem pops up, a lot of people panic, they don’t, they just figure out what needs to be done and luckily we were able to get out and finish it all. Great team effort. This wasn’t what we came out here to do, but we’ll just focus on making the most of our chance at Lime Rock Park.”
A second driver change helped to make sure that both pilots earned their points as the team now holds a 34-point lead in the provisional points.
The group will look to close the championship with a strong run at Lime Rock park, having won at the track in 2011 and 2012.