IMSA Spotlight: Dominik Farnbacher
Driver: 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3
How excited are you to join 3GT Racing for the Rolex 24?
“I’m really excited to drive the car in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for the first time after its debut at the Nürburgring VLN9 race last year, were we had the first victory with the new-generation RC F GT3.
“3GT is a fantastic team which will do its best to give the Lexus RC F GT3 its knowledge to be successful in the U.S.
“Also, to have teammates in the team like Scott [Pruett] and all the IndyCar young guns will be great for the program. They all will bring their knowledge and experience to the program, which helps the Japanese engineers from TRD to understand what is important for the future, since it is their first customer-built racecar and its first GT3 car.”
As a former Rolex 24 GTD class winner, what are some of the keys to success in this race?
“I have done the race now every year since 2005 and I have to say it all comes down to surviving until the 23rd hour. It doesn’t matter how fast you are as long as you are in the same lap as the leaders or one lap behind, the last hour is the one you need to be there. Until then it’s pure surviving.
“You just need to turn off your ego and keep cool; it doesn’t matter if people overtake you and are faster than you. The race is like survival training for team, drivers and machine.
“Teams needs to prepare the cars as well, and need to have emergency plans in case something goes wrong and you need to fix something quickly. My old team, Riley Motorsports, was always great at that!”
Having been one of the drivers with the most mileage in the Lexus RC F GT3, how do you think it will help you, and the team, in getting up to speed?
“The car is still relatively new and it will have its ‘baptism by fire’ in the Rolex 24. The car has never gone such a distance in one race. But after driving and testing the car in Japan and Europe, I can tell you, the Japanese engineers worked very hard to make this car reliable.
“You need to know the highest priority for Toyota as well as Lexus is to create something which is reliable and makes their owners proud. I know the car will be competitive and it was strong straight out of the box when we drove it the first time.
“The team of Kinoshita San (the former team president of the Toyota WEC program, now technical director of TRD Japan) did a great job, finding the right people and their knowledge from building the Super GT cars as well as the new GT3 cars now.
“Paul Gentilozzi’s team did a lot of testing with Scott and the boys and I heard only good things until now, so it looks like everything is going to the original plan. I will just add my experience to the team hoping to give them a little tail wind.”
Where do you think the strongest competition will come from in GTD?
“I am sure all of the manufacturers will be competitive. It’s all about how they play it right, but Daytona always favors the most reliable cars as well as the ones with the best top speed.”
Do you have any other programs/races confirmed for 2017 in the U.S., Europe or elsewhere?
“We’re about to finalize our plans for the European program this year with Lexus Japan.
My father’s team, Farnbacher Racing, and Emil Frey Racing are about to continue its European plans in the next couple of weeks.
“The plan is to compete in a European GT3 championship with two cars. One Lexus RC F GT3 will be coming from Farnbacher, one from Emil Frey Racing. What championship it will be is still pending and will be decided shortly. I will be piloting my dad’s car together with my brother Mario.
“On the side, I plan to participate again at one or more Super GT races in Japan this year together with Lexus.”
Are there any races still on your “bucket list” that you’ve targeted to win in your racing career?
“After winning the Rolex 24 twice, I still have two open dreams…
“I finished second three times at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and once at the Nürburgring 24. I want to win both races, or at least one, before I retire, that’s all.
“[It would be great] to win it together with my little brother Mario, or just to win it for my longtime teammate Allan Simonsen. That would be even greater, since he was always up their on the podiums with me, so we are both in the same boat on that, and I always told him, next year Allan we will be up there.”