Snow, Heylen, and Plumb set for IMSA GTD effort
Luis Bacardi’s Rum Bum Racing will return to the top level of IMSA Racing when the team makes its IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship debut with the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche GT America in the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring on March 15. It marks the second start for the Florida-based team in the IMSA GT ranks after the team had a scene-stealing run in the 2013 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
The Rum Bum Racing driver line up for Sebring boasts youth, experience, and a lot of speed as team manager and driver Matt Plumb will team with young rising talent Madison Snow and experienced pilot Jan Heylen in the GTD category for the 12-hour endurance classic.
In 2013, Snow teamed with his mother Melanie Snow as the duo made history as the first ever mother-son teammates in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Snow scored a podium finish in the 2014 event in just his second start, taking third place with co-drivers Heylen and Marco Seefried.
Affable and quick, Heylen brings experience from his exploits in IndyCar, Indy Lights, and IMSA to the effort. The Belgian finished fourth in the 2013 12 Hours of Sebring event as well as third in 2012. He won the prestigious Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch in 2002 and was the 2005 Renault Eurocup Champion. He spent a season racing in IndyCar competition with Dale Coyne Racing and gave the team its best finish at the time of fifth at the Cleveland Grand Prix. Heylen has also campaigned in the European Sports Car Championship in a Porsche as well as in both the American IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Plumb, who will have a busy weekend as he and his fellow IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge champion Nick Longhi will also be in action in defense of their 2012 and 2013 IMSA titles, also brings experience at the top levels to the effort. Plumb led in his very first race as a Daytona Prototype driver, and had established himself as a force in GT competition before being called up for the Audi Sport customer racing effort in 2013.
Rum Bum Racing nearly won in the Rolex 24 At Daytona last year in the group’s first attempt, running just one lap shy of fuel before being forced to pit on the final lap and ultimately finished seventh.
Calling the shots for the effort will be the cagey and experienced Joe Varde, who himself knows what it is like to take on the 12 Hour race having driven a Porsche 911 RSR in the 1999 running of the event. Well-respected for his leadership atop the pit box, Rum Bum Racing will look for the same leadership from Varde that has led the team to two consecutive Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge championships. Adding to the strength of the effort will be John Wright of Wright Motorsports, who will provide technical support for the 12 Hour classic.
Rum Bum Racing will continue its pursuit of a third Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge championship when Plumb and co-driver Nick Longhi once again combine together for the first CTSCC race at Sebring International Raceway which will be held on March 14, the day before the 12 Hours of Sebring.
The team will get both cars up to speed this week at the IMSA test held at Sebring International Raceway on Thursday and Friday.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Rum Bum Racing and I couldn’t be happier about how everything came together for this Sebring campaign,” said Plumb. “Getting the chance to move up to the GTD Class, which we’ve already seen is incredibly competitive, is a very positive step for the organization. The 12 Hour is a very big race and this year it should be the best yet. All the ingredients are here for this effort so everyone is just chomping at the bit to get going in testing this week!”
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