The No. 24 BMW needed a perfect performance to get the better of Porsche in the GTLM class at the Rolex 24, according to co-driver Augusto Farfus.
GTLM proved to be the most competitive class throughout the 24 hours at Daytona, with the two Porsche entries leading early on but soon being challenged by both BMW and the No. 3 Corvette. After a number of wheel-to-wheel moments, Jesse Krohn overtook Nick Tandy to take a late lead and hand BMW a significant win, with Farfus — who won GTLM in the No. 25 car a year ago — admitting there was no room for error against the Porsche pair.
“It was incredible, to be honest,” Farfus said. “Last year, with the weather, we had the 19 Hours of Daytona instead of 24 hours. It was a very different race — all about surviving and just trying to keep the car on the track.
“This year was the complete opposite. It was a 24 hour sprint race. There was no time to rest, no time to save (the car) because it was all about pushing to the limit. Sometimes saving fuel, sometimes attacking to the maximum. The race was very fast because we didn’t have a lot of yellow so it was very stressful — there was no room for mistakes.
“This year, I have to say, we did a perfect race,” Farfus continued. “All the calls, all the pit stops, all the drivers — we didn’t do a single mistake; we didn’t put a single wheel on the grass; and it paid off.
“We had to push. This was different to other 24 hour races where sometimes you have to kind of manage and just look to the end. This one, we didn’t know the winner until the last lap probably! The gaps were always within 10 seconds, and we were always pushing.
“I’m pleased to be up here (on the podium) once again. This is one of the biggest events for us on the planet. And two victories back to back — it is something extremely unique. So I have to thank all the BMW family, the RLL American team for this opportunity to let me drive the car, and I will go back home with a big smile on my face.”
Qualifying saw the two Porsche cars comfortably fastest ahead of the Corvettes, with BMW starting fifth and sixth in class, something John Edwards admitted had worried the team until it saw its race pace on Saturday afternoon.
“We were a bit concerned in qualifying with our one-lap pace,” Edwards said. “But after the first stint and my first double in the car, I got out and I said, ‘Hey, our long-run pace was really good. I think we have a shot. We’re certainly not eight-tenths off the way we looked in qualifying.’
“We knew the race started in the afternoon so we qualified on the medium tires. I think a lot of the others maybe qualified on softs, so they had a big peak, but we had good pace at the start of the race.
“I knew we had a shot,” Edwards added, “but I’ve come here so many times and never finished on the podium because we always had issues or maybe we got a fourth or something. But I knew at the beginning of this race, we had a chance if we just executed well and, as Augusto said, we executed perfectly.”