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BMW Hoping to Improve on “Bitter” Recent Le Mans History

Augusto Farfus reckons BMW “has best momentum by far” this year compared to GT2, GTE efforts…

Photo: MPS Agency

Augusto Farfus believes BMW is in a stronger position than ever as it returns to the 24 Hours of Le Mans after a five-year absence, adding that the brand will be able to overcome a “bitter” track record at the event since its 1999 overall victory.

Farfus is one of the German manufacturer’s longest-tenured factory drivers and is notably also the only member of Team WRT’s current lineup to have been part of BMW’s previous two Le Mans programs.

In 2010 and 2011, he drove the M3 GT2 alongside Uwe Alzen and Joerg Mueller while he also formed part of the Team MTEK-run GTE-Pro effort in 2018 and 2019.

Now, five years after the latter program ended, the Brazilian is back at the Circuit de la Sarthe with BMW to pilot the No. 31 BMW M4 GT3 together with Darren Leung and Sean Gelael.

“A lot has changed over the last years,” Farfus told Sportscar365 as he reflected on his past Le Mans outings with BMW.

“I’ve been very lucky to be part of this group for almost 20 years. So I’ve gone through all this. I started with Mario Theissen, now to Andreas [Roos]. So I think BMW has a successful history.”

However, as he points out, the brand has not had a good Le Mans track record in the past two decades. He personally recorded a best finish of sixth in class in 2010 and retired twice.

BMW, meanwhile, scored a class podium in GTE-Pro in 2011 but did not repeat that feat with the M8 GTE in either 2018 or 2019.

“Unfortunately, Le Mans has been a painful one to go through,” Farfus said.

“So it is a race where for us it is a bit bitter. And also we came with M8 with high hopes and we could not convert the M8 into a good result, which was also frustrating for us.

“Now I think we are coming from a very strong period, which is also a consequence of the current leadership, but also everything that has been built with the previous leaderships.

“I think if you go from Jens Marquardt, then we had Adam Baker [sporting director under Marquardt], then we had Mike Krack and now we have Andreas.

“So it is a good momentum in BMW.

“Our M4 has been extremely successful across every championship. I think this year has been the most successful GT3 car in the field because we won [in] WEC, GT World Challenge and the Italian GT Championship.

“So I think our GT3 is on a strong run. So I think we are showing up in Le Mans, very ready. You can never be ready enough for this race.

“But I think if you ask me out of all these years, these years probably, talk especially about the GT3 program, we are well sorted. This doesn’t mean that we’re going to win.

“But I think, of course, considering when I came first time here in the M3 GT2, then we came with the M8.

“I think this year is by far the best momentum so far. So let’s try to hope to convert this into victory. But I’m very honored to once again be here.”

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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