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Interview with Augusto Farfus: “Changing teams allows you to keep learning, which can only be positive.”

When the new DTM season starts in Hockenheim (DE) on 7th May, Bruno Spengler (CA), Marco Wittmann (DE), António Félix da Costa (PT), Timo Glock (DE), Augusto Farfus (BR), Tom Blomqvist (GB), Maxime Martin (BE) and Martin Tomczyk (DE) will be representing BMW Motorsport in the cockpits of the eight BMW M4 DTM cars. In the build-up to the new season, we will be interviewing each of our BMW DTM drivers.

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Munich (DE), 6th May 2016. When the new DTM season starts in Hockenheim (DE) on 7th May, Bruno Spengler (CA), Marco Wittmann (DE), António Félix da Costa (PT), Timo Glock (DE), Augusto Farfus (BR), Tom Blomqvist (GB), Maxime Martin (BE) and Martin Tomczyk (DE) will be representing BMW Motorsport in the cockpits of the eight BMW M4 DTM cars. In the build-up to the new season, we will be interviewing each of our BMW DTM drivers.

Augusto Farfus, BMW Team MTEK, #18 Shell BMW M4 DTM.

Your 2016 DTM season started with the switch to a new team – and also by saying your goodbyes. What were your three most memorable moments in BMW Team RBM?

Augusto Farfus: “The first thing I think of is my first win, in Valencia in 2012. Then there is our very first DTM race in Hockenheim in 2012, when we started the season without even really knowing what the DTM is really like. For number three, I would say it’s my relationship with the team, as we shared so many fantastic moments, both on and off the track. A real friendship has developed between me, Bart Mampaey and the all the other members of the team.”

After working together for such a long time, does the race team become a bit like your family?

Farfus: “Of course, primarily because I had already driven with Bart and BMW in the WTCC, and then followed the team from the WTCC to the DTM. We helped each other out then. I was just as new to the DTM as Bart, and we built the team up together, like a real family – and not just with Bart, but with all the mechanics too.”

Now you are moving to a new family with BMW Team MTEK. What do you hope to achieve with team principal Ernest Knoors and your new team-mate Bruno Spengler?

Farfus: “First of all, a lot of wins. This is a very professional team, as are all the BMW teams. At the highest level, each team has a different approach and a different way of putting a weekend together. I am feeling very motivated and believe that changing teams allows you to keep learning, which can only be positive. I am now in a team with Bruno, one of the best and most talented drivers in the whole DTM. I can compare myself to him, and the team worked very well together last year. That’s why I believe that we can have a really good season together.“

You got to know Bruno as a team-mate at the 24 Hours of Daytona, where you also shared a car. How would you describe him?

Farfus: “I think we worked really well together on two occasions at Daytona, and also in the DTM when we were chasing the title in the last race at Hockenheim in 2012. We both have the greatest respect for one another, while our driving styles are slightly different and we make slightly different demands of the car. But that is a good thing, as it expands the team’s horizons.”

You are known around the track as a very approachable person, who gets on with everybody. Does that help you to fit in to a new team?

Farfus: “I just love what I do. Being in a good mood at the track and within your team makes it easy, especially if you enjoy working closely with other people. When I came to MTEK for the first time, I already knew a lot of the people from testing for BMW, for example. Working with them now is something novel, but not totally new. That all makes it easier.”

What is the key for you to have a better DTM season in 2016 than in the past two years?

Farfus: “Experience, I think. The input provided by the new team can also be important and useful. We will work together well at the weekends. I can also take some of my experience of working with Bart Mampaey, and add this to the experience at MTEK. We hope that our car will be very competitive. Now we have to make sure that we make the most of it.”

In addition to the DTM, you are also preparing for the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. Do you enjoy driving on the Nordschleife in the BMW M6 GT3?

Farfus: “The more race cars I can drive, the happier I am. Having the opportunity to drive various cars for various teams, under all sorts of conditions, is what stimulates me. In the GT area, you have to share the car with other drivers, and you might not always have the car set up exactly as you would like it. You have to accept compromises, but that is a challenge that I love. That helps to improve my skills and makes me a better driver.”

You have already competed in some endurance races for BMW. Is there one race that you remember in particular?

Farfus: “The victory at the Nürburgring in 2010 with a totally new car. We won our first 24-hour race on the Nordschleife. It would be great to repeat that with the BMW M6 GT3.”

What did you get up to during the winter, and where did you go?

Farfus: “We were in Brazil for Christmas, which is normal for us. It will be the least time for a while though, as Victoria is going to school now so I will have to adjust my schedule to take that into account. Sadly, we also mourned a great loss as my wife’s father passed away. That was a shock for us all, but apart from that we had a lovely time with the family and I competed in a stock car race with Rubens Barrichello.”

You seem to have a good relationship with Rubens …

Farfus: “Oh yes, definitely. We are good friends. That was the second time that I have shared a car with him. I claimed pole position in qualifying for the guest drivers and he secured a starting position of second for the race. Unfortunately, the race itself did not go so smoothly but it was a great experience. We know one another from his time in Europe as we met often at racetracks and at other events. We met up more often after that in the USA. My wife Liri knows his wife Silvana well, I know his boys, and we have a good relationship away from the racetrack.”

There are a lot of Brazilian racing drivers. Do you feel that you are a small community, and do you spend time with one another?

Farfus: “Yes, even though we all have very busy schedules. Sometimes we do manage to meet up – like at Felipe Massa’s birthday, which we all celebrated together. We meet up here from time to time, which is great but it is difficult to do that regularly. You do meet other drivers in Monaco. Jamie Green takes his son to the same school as Victoria, and Mika Häkkinen’s daughter is there too. She is in the same class as Victoria and is one of her best friends, who comes to our house to play.”

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