Austin, Texas (19 September 2014) – Seven time World Champion and Hall of Fame American sailor Paul Cayard said it best: “When life’s easy anyone can drive, but when it’s tough, the people who excel can make a difference.”
Reigning and two time defending IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Champions Rum Bum Racing lived up to that quote at the Circuit of the Americas round of the 2014 IMSA Championship in Austin, Texas. After record breaking seasons of success with 15 wins, the sheer bad luck that has followed the team in 2014 reared its head again before the green flag even flew. After a great third place qualifying effort by starting driver Hugh Plumb, a freak occurrence saw the engine’s serpentine belt come off on the first pace lap.
Post-race analysis pointed to a piece of debris causing the issue, but this potentially race-ending situation was attacked by the Rum Bum crew who got the car back in the race with a loss of only two laps, an amazing performance in itself. In very difficult weather conditions, the team clawed back to a 14th place finish on pure speed and determination.
Consistently the fastest car for the final hour of the race, lead driver Matt Plumb caught and passed the entire field including the overall leader, to get one of the two laps back. Crew Chief Joe Varde needed only one caution period for his one-stop strategy to play out and get the fan-favorite number 13 Porsche 911 back in contention for the win, but unusually for this series, that caution never came.
“That was one of the most challenging races I’ver ever driven” said Matt Plumb of his final stint. “There were a half dozen different ‘climates’ from corner to corner. It would be light drizzle, totally dry, then pouring rain in different places shifting around the track. I had some great coaching from our spotter MHP which was a huge help in those conditions”.
“What happened on the pace lap was completely unpredictable, just a continuation of the odd run of luck we have had this season” said Rum Bum Racing Technical Director Nick Longhi. “There is nothing anybody can do about it. Apart from that, and looking at what we could actually affect, the performance of the team today was stellar. By the numbers, we were in contention for the win, just a great effort from an exceptional group of people, from Lu Bacardi on down. When our luck comes back we’re going an a tear because every member on this team is looking for blood.”
Rum Bum Racing next travels to Road Atlanta in two weeks for the final race of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. Brandon Davis will join Matt Plumb in the No. 13 Porsche for the season-finale event.