Matt Plumb Makes Impressive Rookie Run in Daytona Prototypes Not bad in KONI, either... 24 October 2008-- After working his way up thorough the open-wheel ranks and years of strong performances in a variety of touring and GT class categories,...
Matt Plumb Makes Impressive Rookie Run in Daytona Prototypes
Not bad in KONI, either...
24 October 2008-- After working his way up thorough the open-wheel ranks and years of strong performances in a variety of touring and GT class categories, the 2008 season saw Matt Plumb called up to the bigs as Rumbum.com Racing gave him the chance to show what he could do behind the wheel of a Daytona Prototype.
Co-driving with team owner and Trueman Award gentleman contender Gene Sigal, the DP rookie Plumb shot out of the cannon on the 2008 season as he stormed to the front of the pack in his very first Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype start at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The Rhode Island resident went on to score 2nd in the MESCO Building for the Future Award among the Daytona Prototype drivers, with only Formula 1 veteran Ricardo Zonta ahead.
"I'm really grateful for the opportunity that Gene (Sigal) and Emmanuel (Lupe, Team Manager) gave me this year, and I feel like we did a great job given the resources we had available," said Plumb. "Having Rumbum.com come on board was the only way this year was possible so a huge thanks to Mr. Bacardi."
The Daytona Prototype effort not only saw Plumb leading the biggest race of the season in his very first start, but the Supercar Life instructor also scored three top five Daytona Prototype finishes including the outstanding podium performance he delivered in extreme conditions at Mid-Ohio.
"That was a big highlight for me because we'd been struggling a little at that point, but the rain leveled the playing field completely," said Plumb. "So it didn't matter if you were a big team with a big budget, or just a small organization like ours. All that mattered was how much grip you could find out there. I love Mid-Ohio, and running as well as we did in that rain was a huge boost to the team because they worked so hard all year long."
Plumb also showed that his fitness regimen is up to par, as he ran nearly the full race distance in June's Six Hour at Watkins Glen, only to come back to the track and post the fastest unofficial lap time in testing on the Monday after the race.
The season also offered its fair share of character-developing setbacks for the Rumbum.com organization. There was heartbreak at Laguna Seca, where the home track for the team and for motor provider Dinan became breathtaking highlight reel material as Plumb bravely dove back into the cockpit of his burning Riley to attempt to keep it from rolling into harms way and the oncoming race traffic. But with a small team comprised of talent with experience in everything from F1 to IndyCar to ALMS, there was no white flag as the one-car team continued to take the fight to the big guys with Plumb showing strength right to the finish of the 2008 season.
"There were certainly some race weekends we'd like to forget from this year, but on the other hand, the team just kept coming back stronger whenever something would set us back," said Plumb. "These guys have raced at every level and in every class of Grand-Am from KONI on up, and with the right budget there is no question they are every bit a match for some big names teams we are fighting with."
Despite his busy Rolex Sports Car Series schedule, Plumb was also nearly perfect in KONI Challenge competition in 2008, scoring three ST Class podiums including a win with Bill Fenton Motorsports on the very first professional race held at New Jersey Motorsports Park. He kept his record intact to close out the year as his only GS Class race of 2008 resulted in another win with his brother Hugh Plumb and co-driver Mike Canney at VIR in the Bosch Engineering 6-Hour.
"Winning in Virginia with Mike (Canney) and my brother Hugh was a great way to end the season," said Plumb, who went to the University of Virginia for his undergraduate degree. "You are only as good as your last race, so to go into the off-season with a win was fantastic. Even though it was my only GS race of the year, getting a result like that is also great motivation towards next year, and hopefully there will be more of those to come."
Plumb is actively looking forward to putting a program together to keep his Rolex momentum going in 2009, having shown his speed and teamwork in his rookie season.