Farfus expects new BMW M4 GT3 to win races in Japan

Augusto Farfus has no doubt that the new BMW M4 GT3 will be competitive in its first season in SUPER GT despite the car’s lacklustre performance at the Rolex 24 in Daytona.

Farfus expects new BMW M4 GT3 to win races in Japan
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BMW factory driver Farfus will lead the debut of the M4 GT3 in Japan this year, teaming up with 2004 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Seiji Ara and Tsubasa Kondo at Team Studie in SUPER GT’s GT300 class.

After an extensive testing programme in Europe last year, the new-generation car's first major appearance in America turned out to be a disappointment, with the two M4 GT3s run by works squad Rahal Letterman Lanigan in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship opener finishing seventh and ninth in the 13-car GTD Pro division - several laps down on the race-winning Porsche.

But Farfus isn’t concerned about the pace of the new M4, saying it was not unusual for a new car to perform poorly against its rivals in a field dictated by Balance of Performance.

Instead, he feels that with the data now available about BMW’s new GT3 racer, SUPER GT promoter GTA and its partner SRO will jointly be able to work out a more accurate BoP before the season opener at Okayama next month.

“The performance at Daytona was far below expectations, but the BoP was not where we wanted it to be,” Farfus told Motorsport.com. 

“I understand where IMSA comes from – we are presenting a completely new car, and the championship also has a hard time evaluating where we are. Also, they have to be careful when it’s a works programme and a new car, because they don’t want to jeopardise the rest of the field. 

“As painful as it was to be off the pace, I am convinced that we have an extremely good car and that it’s a matter of time. Every manufacturer which brought out a new car struggled a bit at the beginning, and then the championship starts to understand the real performance. 

“We had to pay a price in Daytona, but this allows other championships to have a better baseline BoP. I have no doubt that in SUPER GT will take this into consideration. 

“Maybe we won’t be flying, because also we have to learn the car, and the confidential Michelin tyres. But the car has incredible potential and I see this car winning many races in the future."

#77 BMW Junior Team BMW M6 GT3: Augusto Farfus

#77 BMW Junior Team BMW M6 GT3: Augusto Farfus

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Farfus missed last week's opening SUPER GT pre-season test at Okayama, with Ara setting the car's best lap across the two days of 1m26.989s, around 1.7 seconds off the pacesetting JLOC Lamborghini.

Michelin will be providing a specially-developed confidential tyre for the M4 GT3 in Japan, different to the customer S9 products on which the car runs in both the GTD Pro and GTD classes in IMSA.

But Farfus is optimistic about the versatile nature of the new car, adding that he expects it to be quick no matter what tyre is fitted.

“We did not test the Michelin confidential tyre, but we tried to create a car that would be suitable for every championship,” explained Farfus, who played an integral role in the development of the M4.

“We tried Michelin, Pirelli, Hankook, Yokohama, not to make the car for a specific tyre, but to make sure that for any customer anywhere in the world, whatever tyre they are using, the car will work. 

“We made the car with a big window and it should work with any tyre. It will require some testing and some work, I know the [confidential] tyres are quite different, and we are racing against cars that have raced for many years in Japan. 

“So we also have to be humble. It will be an uphill battle. But I know the team is capable, the car is very good, so I’m not worried at all about our performance.”

Farfus is also missing next week's Fuji pre-season test, and is unavailable for the Okayama season opener owing to a clash with his European Le Mans Series programme. However, he could yet make his SUPER GT return as early as May for the second round of the season at Fuji.


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