Orlando, Fla.– Luis Bacardi’s Rum Bum Racing will kick off the 2013 race season at Daytona International Speedway this weekend as the defending GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Team Champions, with Matt Plumb and Nick Longhi once again set to join forces in the No. 13 Porsche.
For Rum Bum Racing, there is a lot of confidence about the 2013 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season as the team looks to build on a championship-winning run that featured five race wins for the Joe Varde-led squad. But with that confidence comes an understanding that the competition in the highly popular Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge field will be fiercer than ever.
“We were fortunate to win so many races in 2012, but I think that at this level of competition it will be hard to match that this year,” offered Plumb. “Every team has continued to raise their game and we have the target on our backs. I think it’s safe to say that the championship will be even tighter in 2013.”
The team has traditionally run well at their home track of Daytona, having claimed victory in their debut at the track in 2010, then following up that effort with a repeat win in 2011 and finishing fifth in last year’s event. Though Rum Bum Racing is making its fourth Daytona appearance, the 2013 event marks the team’s first with a Porsche, having made the transition from BMW following last year’s Daytona event.
“We found that at Daytona the Porsche lacks some of the top speed of the BMW in years past but it’s light and nimble, so hopefully we can make up for it a little bit in the infield,” said Plumb. “But it’s going to be tough going up against all these other powerful cars. We found last year that we were good as long as we were up front, but in traffic it’s kind of hard to maneuver unless you have some open track ahead of you.”
Longhi, who claimed the pole in the season-finale event at Lime Rock Park last year and qualified the No. 13 among the top-10 in all but one race in 2012, has once again been drafted to qualify the No. 13 Porsche at Daytona.
“Qualifying at Daytona is always interesting, because it is the first chance we get to see what everyone really has after everyone has been working to improve their cars through the off-season,” said Longhi. “But even on a big track like Daytona, it can be just as important to have a fast car as it is to get a clear lap without traffic. You want to be up front at the start, but it’s not absolutely critical, particularly when you have a team behind you like Rum Bum because our pit stops are so strong. The main thing is to be in position to avoid trouble early in the race and keep the car underneath you to be able to fight in the closing laps when it really counts.”
Having had a very successful test during the three-day Roar Before the 24 earlier this month, Rum Bum Racing is hopeful of a solid result in this year’s twice around the clock endurance event.
“It’s been absolutely fantastic working with everyone at Audi Sport customer racing,” said Plumb. “They’re all very non-threatening, very competitive, super knowledgeable about this particular car and this particular chassis. They all have experience driving it in some form in Europe and many have been involved in the testing of this car. They have incredible feedback and you can tell why they have been selected to be Audi factory drivers--they are at the top of their game. To be able to drive in a program like this with some of the guys we have in the car with me it’s really an honor for me, certainly as a driver to be a part of it. It is everything you can possibly imagine it to be. “
After a productive first outing with the impressive Audi R8 GRAND-AM entry, Rum Bum Racing again demonstrated the ability to excel with a new challenge and anticipates carrying that positive momentum into this weekend’s 24 hour race.
Rum Bum Racing