Rum Bum Racing is looking forward to returning to IMSA competition in 2016. The team is now unveiling several exciting options to determine what the program will look like when the green flag flies at Daytona International Speedway next January, looking at both the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series.
With a committed team owner, a hall of fame crew chief, and a driver roster that is the envy of the paddock, Rum Bum Racing has been delivering results since day one. The two-time champions were once again in the thick of the championship battle all the way through the final moments of the 2015 Continental Tire Challenge season.
With 20 overall victories to its credit, the organization is now looking forward to the next chapter in its competition history, but the question has not yet been answered as to what book that chapter will be in.
With a range of new technical specifications, as well as some compelling new competition options, Rum Bum Racing has a lot of options to consider ahead of 2016.
“I am not sure we’ve had an off-season like this before,” said Matt Plumb, the winningest racer in the Continental Tire Challenge. “There are a lot of different things for us to sort out and we are getting close to where we need to be committed to what we are doing for 2016. We’ve got a great team, and are fortunate to have the facilities in place, so we just have to plug everything in and get going.”
After establishing a championship-winning legacy with BMW, the team made a shock switch to Porsche in 2012.
Having won the first time out in its first race with Porsche equipment and going on to power the iconic brand to two consecutive manufacturer titles, Rum Bum Racing’s success has quickly become synonymous with Porsche. That legacy is deepened by the history of Porsche success that stretches back decades for Joe Varde. Rum Bum Racing’s Florida-based crew chief has not only been crew chief for countless victories with Porsche, he’s also wheeled himself to victory lane all the way back to IMSA Firehawk competition in the Eighties.
The 2016 Continental Tire SportsCar Championship is expected to see the debut of the hugely anticipated Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport. The street GT4 refreshed the enthusiasm of the Porsche faithful with its light weight, added power, and exclusive availability in stick shift form, and was an instant sales success.
With the track-oriented offering boasting a global development cycle and support from Porsche Motorsport North America, the interest is clear for several including Rum Bum Racing management in this new offering.
But it isn’t just Porsche that might make sense for Rum Bum Racing, which has a 100-percent victory rate when joining up with a new manufacturer. The team was critical in helping BMW win the 2010 and 2011 IMSA Manufacturer Championships. In 2012, when the team moved to Porsche, once again Rum Bum helped that brand win the 2012 and 2013 Manufacturer titles.
Also to be thought through is the opportunity that the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship provides with the exciting all-new specifications for the GT Daytona (GTD) class, which will now run to a nearly full-specification global GT3 spec. The team is exploring options both for full season or Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup races.
The new regulations will see all-new designs from Lamborghini, Porsche, BMW, Audi, and others take their bragging rights to the track. Rum Bum Racing has previous experience in GTD competition at IMSA’s top level, having worked with both Audi Sport customer racing with the R8 in GRAND-AM, as well as with the Porsche 911 GT America package that the team debuted with a typically wild Rum Bum Racing livery at Sebring in 2014.
“GTD is going to be very compelling in 2016,” said Plumb. “Obviously there are a lot of great new entries, but the way IMSA is teaming with manufacturers to build the sport and grow the interest is something that hopefully bears fruit. We have experience at that level and it wouldn’t be that much of an adjustment for us, going to a Patrón (North American) Endurance Cup campaign or even a full season program if everything matched up well. There are a lot of options, but no matter what we do it will have the same level of professionalism and preparation that Mr. Bacardi has always insisted on, so we are eager to sort it out and get going.”