Luis Bacardi’s Rum Bum Racing will return to the top level of IMSA competition when the team makes its TUDOR United SportsCar Championship debut with the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche 911 GT America in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida on March 15. It marks the second start for the Florida-based team in the GT ranks after the team had a scene-stealing run in the 2013 Rolex 24 At Daytona. The Rum Bum Racing driver lineup for Sebring boasts youth, experience and plenty of speed as team manager and driver Matt Plumb joins rising talent Madison Snow and experienced pilot Jan Heylen in the GT Daytona category for the 12-hour endurance classic.
At 17, Snow already has achieved remarkable success through his young racing career. He is the youngest driver to win a Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama race and he took home the Platinum Cup driver championship in 2013. Last year, Snow completed his third Porsche GT3 Cup USA season and clinched the overall championship title two races before the season ended.
Snow also teamed with his mother, Melanie Snow, and the duo made history as the first mother-son teammates in the 2013 Rolex 24 At Daytona. This year, Snow scored a podium finish in his second Rolex 24 start, taking third place with co-drivers Heylen and Marco Seefried.
Heylen brings experience from his exploits in Champ Car, Indy Lights, and IMSA to the effort. The Belgian finished fourth in the 2013 Twelve Hours of Sebring 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 raced in Champ Car in 2006 and 2007, taking fifth at Cleveland for Dale Coyne Racing in 2006 – its best finish at the time – and took a career-best result of second at Assen in The Netherlands for Conquest Racing in 2007. Heylen has also competed in the European Sports Car Championship in a Porsche as well as in both the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón.
Plumb will have a busy weekend as he and fellow Continental Tire Challenge champion Nick Longhi will also be in defense of their 2012 and 2013 Grand Sport class championships. Plumb also brings experience at the top levels to this effort, leading 16 laps in his first race as a Daytona Prototype driver in the 2008 Rolex 24. He gained GT experience with Turner Motorsport before being called up for the Audi Sport Customer Racing effort in 2013.
Calling the shots for the effort will be the cagey and experienced Joe Varde, who himself knows what it’s like to take on the 12-hour race, having driven in the event several times. 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 Challenge championships.
In addition to the TUDOR Championship effort, Rum Bum Racing will continue its pursuit of a third Continental Tire Challenge championship when Plumb and Longhi co-drive together for the first Continental Tire Challenge race at Sebring International Raceway on March 14, the day before the Twelve Hours of Sebring.
The team will get both cars up to speed this week at the IMSA test at Sebring 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.”