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Super GT Okayama

Farfus reflects on "crazy" first SUPER GT race with BMW M4

Augusto Farfus has described Team Studie’s maiden SUPER GT outing with the new BMW M4 GT3 as “crazy” after an unfortunate incident wrecked the squad’s chances of a strong finish.

#7 Studie BMW M4

Photo by: Masahide Kamio

Having been a seasoned campaigner in SUPER GT’s GT300 class with the BMW M6 for several years, Team Studie has brought the German manufacturer’s latest-generation GT3 racer to Japan for 2022, also signing factory driver Farfus to join 2004 Le Mans 24 winner Seiji Ara at the outfit.

The new M4 was immediately on the pace in qualifying, with Farfus setting the seventh-fastest lap in the pole shootout after Ara had successfully propelled the car into Q2 in the 27-car GT300 field.

In the race, Farfus ran as high as fifth after the pitstop phase, albeit with a long queue of cars gradually forming behind him as his Michelin tyres wore out.

Drama struck with just six laps to go when ARTA rookie Iori Kimura outbraked himself into Turn 5, clattering his Honda NSX GT3 into the back of the BMW and leaving Farfus beached in the gravel.

The incident brought an early end to the M4’s debut outing on Japanese soil, while Kimura was later handed a penalty that dropped the #55 Honda crew outside the points-scoring positions.

Asked to sum up his first SUPER GT race in five years, Farfus told Motorsport.com: “[It was] crazy! I was fighting as hard as I could, there was no tyre left. It was the first proper long run I did in the car, so it was kind of shot in the dark.

“I had the suspicion that prior to the race that it was going to be very difficult to keep the tyres alive to the end. So I left the pits and didn't push immediately, because I saw how hard it was for Seiji to do 27 laps and I had to do 54, 55 laps. 

“It would have been nice to at least finish the race. I saw [Kimura] coming very fast but I had the car on the outside. [Afterwards], I came to the garage and there was [Kimura], he was like, ‘I'm really sorry’. He could not even look me in my eye, he was so sorry. It is nice to see the respect.”

 

Although Farfus had been able to hold fifth for much of his stint, the Brazilian admitted that he was facing such severe tyre degradation that he feared he would suffer a puncture - and that it would have been tricky to keep the train of cars behind in the dying stages of the race.

“I had no tyre left,” he said. “At a certain point I even thought I'd have a puncture, a tyre failure, because the vibrations started.

"Also the problem was that I let the [Team LeMans] Audi go by quickly because I felt if I fight with him hard and he goes by, then the whole train of cars will go [past too].”

Farfus added that he must work with Team Studie on tyre conservation over long stints, saying race wins could be achievable if he can eke out more life from the Michelin rubber.

“It is the first test we did the Michelin on the dry with the car, so there was a lot to learn,” he said. “It's okay. We lost the race but not the championship so we keep pushing strong.

“I think the main target for us now is to match the tyre [to the set-up], to learn the Michelin. That's the biggest gain we can have. I don't think a victory is far. We showed that we are P5, we can be in the top five. We just have to keep working.”

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Farfus's appearance in Okayama follows his split with European Le Mans Series squad BHK Motorsport, meaning there is only one race - May's Suzuka race - that he will definitely miss, owing to a conflict with the Nurburgring 24 Hours.

A decision on where Farfus will race on the first weekend of October, when SUPER GT's Autopolis round clashes with the final races of both his IMSA and GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup programmes, will be made by BMW at a later date.

Team Studie's designated third driver Tsubasa Kondo will replace Farfus whenever he is unavailable to race in SUPER GT.

  • Stream every qualifying session and race of the 2022 SUPER GT season only on Motorsport.tv.

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