Rum Bum Racing enters the tail end of the 2015 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season seeking both a comeback in the GS class championship, while also planning its longer-term future in the series.
It appeared as though Rum Bum’s title hopes for Matt and Hugh Plumb were dashed at Lime Rock Park, when Andrew Davis made a rare unforced error and hit the back of Hugh Plumb, pitching the No. 13 Porsche 911 into a spin and into the wall before Turn 2.
Davis and Robin Liddell finished fourth while the Plumb brothers finished 10th, and left Lime Rock 24 points behind with just four races remaining.
Back-to-back wins however for the Plumbs at Road America and Virginia International Raceway, coupled with fifth and third-place finishes for Davis and Liddell, has netted the Plumbs a 14-point gain in two races.
The VIR win, completed without power steering in the second half of the race, saw Matt Plumb extend his record of most career victories with 22. It was Rum Bum’s 18th overall win and was their 31st podium in 62 career starts.
Additionally, the win occurred on Matt’s 17th wedding anniversary and the Plumbs’ mother’s birthday.
The pairing is now just 10 back of Davis and Liddell, with two races to go at Circuit of the Americas and Road Atlanta.
Rum Bum crew chief Joe Varde said although the team has made a comeback, they still need to have a bit more luck to have a realistic title shot.
“There’s a lot of ‘ifs’ here,” Varde told Sportscar365. “If the 6 car makes every lap and we make every lap, it’s probably not gonna happen.
“There’s not enough cars in the class to shuffle people around that far and gain that kind of points. But I’m proud of my drivers and my owner.
“We had a little glitch last year, but all race teams have that.”
The short-term thinking for Varde is about the championship but the longer-term thinking is about the team’s next platform.
No decision has been made yet for the Luis Bacardi-owned team on its next model, though the new Porsche Cayman GT4 has been rumored as a possibility if IMSA goes forward to homologate it for the GS class.
Varde said that would be the next logical step for the team, which currently runs the Porsche 911 without any factory support.
“Porsche’s coming out with the new street car, we’re pretty excited about that, and it will make a nice race car,” Varde said. “We may be able to use one of those. But right now, no decision has been made.”
As one of the privateers in the Continental Tire GS class, Varde said getting back to title contention while facing off against successful manufacturer-supported entries from Stevenson Motorsports and Multimatic Motorsports has been a challenge, but rewarding at the same time.
He’s also more confident in IMSA’s operational structure now compared to where it was a year or so ago.
“We’re not a manufacturer, we don’t have any manufacturer support, we just come to race,” Varde said. “It’s hard for us to have a class like this and try to compete against manufacturers building cars for the class.
“But yeah, I believe it’s getting better. The decline (in GS) started a while back. Once you burn the forest down, don’t expect to get up in the morning and see trees.
“It will get better. I like the people in place now. They’re really paying attention to making this better.”