COLUMBIA, Md. (Feb. 22, 2017) – Following every race in the PCA Club Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport Trophy East series, David Baum is almost always greeted by his fan club.
Hugs from his parents, a kiss from his wife and plenty of cheering was the cherry on top of his 10 podium finishes during his 2016 season.
Baum, from Hastings, Michigan, said he was first introduced to the Porsche Club of America by a friend. Twenty years later, he is as hooked as ever.
“I got bit by the bug, and it’s true when they say, ‘You always want more,’” Baum said.
“I started off in Skip Barber Racing School, and then I quickly bought a 1973 Porsche 911. The car started out as a basic stock 911, but then we added a fuel cell and roll bar and did some transmission and engine work. We were always looking for ways to make the cars lighter and faster.”
Baum raced that car for eight years and went through a few more Porsches before he noticed information about a new racing series – PCA Club Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport Trophy East.
“I thought the Clubsport series looked like a super-fun, competitive series,” Baum said. “It really sparked my interest and appealed to me because it’s a spec series. It’s based on driver skill and strategy – not just the cars.”
And just like that, Baum bought the fifth Porsche of his racing career – a Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
Baum is a third-generation owner and manager of what he calls “a pretty unique business.” Hastings Fiber Glass produces insulated tools for electrical power companies. Baum’s grandfather started the company in 1959 and passed it on to his dad, who handed the reins to him. The company has grown to around 100 employees.
Family is extremely important to Baum, and everyone familiar with the series sees it. His dad, Larry Baum, attended all six Porsche GT4 Clubsport Trophy East series races in 2016.
“I couldn’t do it without him,” Baum said. “He’s semi-retired, so he does a lot of the leg work and preparation for me before these big event weekends.”
The father-and-son duo raced together in PCA – Larry in his 1972 Porsche 911 and David in his 1973 Porsche 911. Now, Larry Baum just supports his son.
“I think he saw it’s a good way to spend father-and-son time together,” David Baum said. “A lot of families don’t have that.”
Most drivers would be happy with one incredibly loyal fan, but Baum has two. His wife, Susie, can be seen in the paddock taking photographs throughout race weekends and is always cheering for Baum from trackside.
“People will say to me, ‘Man, great job this weekend!’ Baum said. “And I’m like, ‘How do you know?’ and they tell me, ‘Oh, Susie posted it on Facebook!’
“She tries to get to as many races as she can – usually the ones closest to the beach. But in all seriousness, she supports me 100 percent and has never been reluctant about me racing.”
The couple has three sons. Their oldest, Jason, works with Baum at Hastings Fiber Glass. Baum said Jason would love to get into PCA Club Racing someday. Brian is a certified public accountant who lives with his wife in Michigan, and Nick studies business at Grand Valley State University.
Keith Jensen won the 2016 championship by leading the standings, 310-250, over Baum, who represents the Western Michigan PCA Region in his No. 24 Autometrics Motorsports entry.
“Last season we worked really hard trying to compete for the championship,” Baum said. “We had 10 podiums. But I have to hand it to Keith. He had an outstanding season, and he deserved the championship.”
As far as favorite moments from 2016, Baum said his race at Road America with his friend Billy Stevens was most memorable.
During the endurance race over Labor Day Weekend, Baum and Stevens raced nose to tail while locked in an intense late duel for second and third. After gaining momentum and getting a run in the famous, high-speed Carousel corner, Baum finished ahead of Stevens by .152 of a second to claim second overall.
“That was probably one of the most fun races I’ve ever had,” Baum said. “Plus I beat him.”
Baum is also quick to point out the hard work of his team – Charleston, South Carolina-based Autometrics Motorsports.
“My Autometrics guys work their butts off,” Baum said. “At the end of the day, I go back to the hotel and take a shower and go to a nice dinner, but those guys are still thrashing it out at the track working.”
Baum is aiming higher than ever for the 2017 season.
“I’m really looking forward to 2017 with our eight race weekends and three new tracks,” Baum said. “I’ve heard great things about the new package from PMNA, and I’m just excited to kick this all off.”
The first PCA Club Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport Trophy East series race of 2017 is quickly approaching. Drivers will compete March 31 – April 2 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia.