It’s hard to argue that any other team in the GS class of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge has had worse luck this season than Team TGM.
Team TGM entered this season with two full-time drivers in team owner Ted Giovanis and co-driver Guy Cosmo, with the addition of Hugh Plumb to assist with the two four-hour races at Daytona and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Giovanis eventually made the decision early in the year to bring Plumb on board full-time, and all three drivers would pilot two cars, the No. 4 and No. 46 Porsche Cayman GT4 MRs.
But a string of unfortunate events has seen that plan turn into only Plumb and Cosmo driving the No. 4, after Giovanis suffered a torn Achilles tendon as a result of a practice incident at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last month.
Both cars withdrew from that event due to incidents, did not compete at the following race at Lime Rock Park, and the one car brought to Road America earlier this month was also forced to withdraw due to a practice incident.
“When I fell by the wayside, a lot of people basically said ‘Well, we’re probably not going to do anything from now on,’” said Giovanis, who underwent surgery five weeks ago.
“Well, all I did was plug Hugh into the car with Cosmo and this is where we are. The testament of a team is not necessarily how well they do but how well they confront adversity. That’s sort of what you’re seeing.
“We’re confronting adversity. We look for reasons, we look for answers and fix them and go on. There’s a vision followed by plans and the plans didn’t work out, but the vision never changed.”
Giovanis’ recovery is going well, but as he pointed out, full recovery can’t come soon enough for a racecar driver.
“I have two jobs,” Giovanis said. “My jobs are running the (JKTG) Foundation [a primary sponsor of the car that focuses on health policy and cancer research] and being a race car driver. So, I look at my rehab as doing my job and I think the guys, Hugh and Cosmo, they understand that I’m trying to get back.
“[The doctors] all say I’m doing really well, ahead of other patients they’ve had who have had similar surgeries, but yet it’s not fast enough for me.
“I’m ready to get on the gas and I can’t do it yet. What do I have to do to get back to walking again? What do I have to do to get in a car again? And what do I have to do to get in a race car again? Those are sort of my milestones.”
Giovanis is also making sure his injury doesn’t limit the support he is able to give his team.
He made the trip to Road America and plans to travel to each of the remaining three races this year, with the next stop being Virginia International Raceway for this weekend’s Biscuitville Grand Prix.
And if there’s one track that could turn the team’s luck around, it’s VIR.
Cosmo won there in the ST class in 2003 and Plumb has three wins of his own at the circuit (ST in 2006, and GS in 2008 and 2015).
“Some tracks you just seem to have good showings at,” said Plumb. “I like the racetrack a lot and I think it’s got a lot of different things to offer.
“The word luck or whatever it is outside of hard work, talent, it’s just one of those things that that’s where the stars have aligned.
“When you have lots of bad luck, you start to wonder what is going on? I think it would be easier to rationalize if somebody made a mistake. I’m hoping going into VIR that we’ve had all of our bad luck because we just need to let the talent of the team, the hard work, commitment, all of the above, of Ted and the team really shine.”
And there’s one competitor in particular that Plumb especially has his eye on – younger brother, Matt Plumb, who co-drives the No. 76 C360R McLaren GT4.
“The funny thing is (my three wins) all have been with my brother, Matt, so that’s been great. This weekend, I hope to do the same thing, but beat my brother. He can be second this time.”