Newporters Race in Daytona 24
By Jocelyn Hall
Two Newporters – driver and team manager Mathieu Plumb and mechanic Joseph Hall – competed for the first time on the Rum Bum racing team in the 2013 Rolex 24 automobile race in Daytona Beach, Florida. The 24-hour non-stop race is widely considered to be the ultimate test of physical, mental and mechanical endurance.
Car-racing champions from around the world competed in the weekend event, which took place between Saturday, Jan. 26 and Sunday, Jan. 27. Fifty-seven cars raced in three classes; the Daytona Prototype (DP), Grand Touring (GT) and the Grand (GX).
Over the course of the race, the Rum Bum team battled blazing track temperatures, penalties, and a faulty radio to go from a a starting position of 15th to second place in the race. A catastrophe in the final lap cost them the top position.
Started in 2010 by Newport resident Plumb, Rum Bum Racing has earned a reputation as a tough competitor. In 2012, the team won the Grand Sport class team championship in the Grand Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. They won half of the races they competed in last year. “When it all comes down to it, it's hard work and teamwork that gets the wins," said pit crew member Joseph Hall.
"When you think about everything involved, it's amazing that anyone finishes the race," said 2012 Indy Car Series Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay. “There are all the mechanical issues, the engine never shutting off for 24 hours, the wear and tear the car takes and the stress on the brakes."
The team ended up placing seventh in the GT class, which was won by Alex Job Racing’s No. 24 Audi, driven by Filip Albuquerque. This event marked both Audi’s first ever GT class victory and victory in the Rolex 24 series.
Jocelyn Hall is a freelance writer in Newport. She is the sister of Rum Bum Racing's Joseph Hall.