Rum Bum Racing Is Best BMW with 4th Place on Mid-Ohio Starting Grid

Rum Bum Racing Is Best BMW with 4th Place on Mid-Ohio Starting Grid

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LEXINGTON, Ohio, 16 September – When it counted most, the Rum Bum Racing squad stepped up to the plate and got a hit.

Nick Longhi qualified the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing BMW M3 in the fourth position for tomorrow’s season-ending GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge EMCO Gears Classic presented by Key Bank. Earlier in the day, the squad was troubled by the handling behavior of the No. 13 machine.

Yet after a thorough diagnosis, a series of adjustments brought the car back to its usual sweet spot allowing Longhi to crack off a lap at 1:31.533 sec. around the 2.258-mile length of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

“It’s all down to the team and (crew chief) Joe Varde. These guys never quit,” said Longhi. “We weren’t in a good place after the first practice this morning and there was not one thing that was the root cause. We got together and prioritized what we could accomplish before qualifying, which ended up being a host of refinements here and there across the car. So, when I went out, from the first lap, the car felt great, and I immediately had the confidence to push hard. I made a small mistake on my best lap, so we may have been a place higher, but the Mustangs and Camaros are hard to beat over one lap. I think we’ll be in better shape over the race distance though.”

The Rum Bum squad knew from the start that they had the GS Class M3 dialed when Longhi opened the 30-minute session with a lap at 1:32.453 sec., good enough for fourth quick. His next trip across the start-finish line lowered the mark to 1:31.533 sec., which set pole at the time. Eventually a pair of Mustangs would usurp his time dropping Longhi to third place. Two more successive laps at 1:31.7 and 1.31.6 sec. fell just short of his best time. Still, it appeared Longhi would hold on to the inside of row 2 until the No. 01 Camaro squeaked in by a going a tenth of a second faster. Thus, No. 13 Rum Bum Racing machine starts on the outside of row two, with Longhi’s best lap ultimately only three tenths of a second adrift of pole.

“We definitely struggled through the test and practice to get the balance right on the car. But, in the end we got right, as Nick proved with a great qualifying run to make us the best BMW, which is always what we aim for. The Mustangs and Camaros are really fast around here, but it will be interesting to see if they can maintain that pace over a race distance. Everyone is so close that it’s going to be nose-to-tail all race,” said Longhi’s co-driver Matt Plumb.

“To be on the podium tomorrow is going to be a matter of survival with all the traffic and with the ST Class cars as fast as we are through large sections of this track, it’s going to make for a very difficult race. There’ll be a lot of cautions, I think. So being lucky and getting your strategy aligned with the yellows will be key to hold track position until the last 30 minutes and then, it will be a straight fight to the finish,” added Plumb.

The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race gets underway Saturday, September 17th at 11:00 AM eastern time. Follow the action on live timing and scoring at grand-am.com.

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RBR-Mid_ohio_qualifying-PDF.pdf

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