They mastered one of the biggest challenges in motorsport: Augusto Farfus and his team-mates in the number 26 BMW Z4 GT3 from BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS completed the chase twice around the clock in the Eifel mountains. They finished the prestigious 24-hour race on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in a strong fourth position, just missing out on the podium. In total, more than 150 cars had tackled the endurance classic. On Saturday afternoon, BMW works driver Farfus and his colleagues Jörg Müller, Nick Catsburg and Dirk Adorf started the race from pole-position after Farfus had set the fastest time in qualifying. Ahead of them lay 24 hours full of the challenges this race is famous for.
Two hundred thousand spectators were following the race around the 20-kilometre Nordschleife. In the first half especially, the drivers and teams had to cope with treacherous conditions. In the evening and the night several rain showers made tyre choice a gamble and produced an extremely slippery track. Several cars of the leading group crashed and had to retire early on. Farfus and his team-mates stayed out of trouble and were among the protagonists at the front. However, they suffered a setback after around seven hours of racing, when they lost time due to a problem at a pit stop. From then on, they started their chase back towards the front, with Farfus doing the fastest overall race lap of 8:18.690 minutes in the morning.
After 24 hours and 155 laps they crossed the line in fourth, missing the podium by less than one minute. Their colleagues in the number 25 sister car, Maxime Martin, Lucas Luhr, Markus Palttala and Richard Westbrook, finished second on the podium, only 40.729 seconds behind the winning Audi. It was the closest finish ever in the history of the race.
Afterwards, Farfus had mixed emotions about the outcome. “At the moment, I am very disappointed,” the driver from Curitiba admitted. “We lost the race due to that problem at the pit stop. It cost us around six minutes, and if you see our final gap to the winners you can see where we would have been. Nowadays, in 24-hour races the level is so high that such an issue really costs you.”
“But I take the positives,” Farfus said as he continued his summary. “We had two cars running perfectly. We put the BMW Z4 GT3 on pole and I did the fastest race lap. That shows how strong the commitment of BMW Motorsport is in GT racing. We definitely had the car to win – and that is why I think it hurts even more.”
Now, Farfus turns his focus to touring car racing again. In two weeks’ time, the driver from Curitiba will return to the cockpit of his Shell BMW M4 DTM. At Germany’s Lausitzring he will compete in the second round of the 2015 DTM season with BMW Team RBM.