Augusto Farfus, sharing with BMW Motorsport drivers Bill Auberlen, Alexander Sims and Bruno Spengler, finished eighth in his first race of the season, the Rolex 24 At Daytona. His name, along with those of his teammates, will go into art history as part of the 19th BMW Art Car, designed by master John Baldessari. He joins a select band of drivers who have finished a 24-hour race driving one of the famous BMW Art Cars.
The race was an unforgettable experience, as the Brazilian’s mount is a historic one.
“To drive the 19th BMW Art Car is a unique opportunity to write my name in history,” enthused Farfus. “People will see my name on this car in 50 or even 100 years’ time, which is a wonderful feeling. It’s already an amazing thing to race in a BMW works car at a historic event like the 24 Hours of Daytona, but to have the privilege to race an art car is something that will live with me forever. After the race it stopped being a racecar forever, and now it is pure art. It’s one of the highlights of my career, that’s for sure.”
The 19th BMW Art Car, the #19 BMW M6 GTLM run by BMW Team RLL, had a tough race in Florida. Starting 10th in class – the qualifying time set by Auberlen – a deficit in pace compared to the other GTLM cars was obvious from the beginning. “The balance of performance is frustrating,” Farfus said.
The Brazilian took over for his first stint in the car with night already settled on Daytona International Speedway, and found himself immersed in the trickiest conditions of the weekend. Heavy rain and a mixed field – a characteristic of racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – made for some wild hours driving. It was also Augusto’s first experience of the BMW M6 GTLM in wet conditions.
“I’d never driven in the wet with the BMW M6 GTLM before, so it was quite an experience to get into the car for my first stint in the dark and wet. That was really difficult, the track was incredibly slippery and I just had to stay focussed and stay out of trouble. With so many incidents on track, surviving that period of the race was crucial.”
He used all his experience to keep in touch with the leaders, but an extended stop during the night dropped the #19 car from the lead lap and the podium was out of reach. After 24 hours, Farfus, Auberlen, Sims and Spengler finished one lap behind the winners in eighth place.