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January 27, 2019

Connor De Phillippi

Philipp Eng

Augusto Farfus

Colton Herta

Daytona Beach, Florida

THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, we're joined by our GTLM class winners.
Co‑drivers of the No.25, BMW Team RLL, BMW M8 GTE, Augusto Farfus, Connor De Phillippi, Philipp Eng, and Colton Herta.
Connor, why don't you start us off. Your third win in this car. Probably none bigger than this one. If you could take us through your thoughts on a Rolex 24 win and GTLM.
CONNOR DE PHILLIPPI: There's certainly a lot of thoughts going through all of our minds. It's an emotional one for all of us. If we looked 12 months back, obviously, the program was very new and had a lot of steps that needed to be done. We worked tirelessly for the last 12 months, and here we stand on top of the podium. I think that shows the effort that BMW and Team RLL have put in. This is definitely‑‑ I've won a couple other big races, but this is going to be one to go to the top of the list for sure.
Augusto drove an incredible last couple hours. We were all doing our rain dance because we saw the speed that he had. We just drove a really clean race and mistake‑free race. I think we were one of the only teams that didn't really get any penalties. Kudos goes out to all my teammates that drove a clean race.
There was some other news that came out this week, and there were some other parts of the team and parts of BMW that I think were with us today.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Connor. Let's move over to Colton.
Colton, same question. Huge win for you. Just give us your thoughts.
COLTON HERTA: Yeah, it was incredible. Obviously, expectations, I had no idea what to have, what to think of coming into this race. This is my first GT race, and what a group of guys to come into. BMW has been great to me. My teammates have been great to me. Everybody did an amazing job, mistake free.
Yeah, like Connor said, this is the biggest race I've ever won, and it's such a historic race to win. So to put my name on a list with some of the other legends that have won this race is super cool.
THE MODERATOR: Philipp, over to you. Tough racing, as always, in GTLM. Certainly no exception here over the past 24 hours or so. Just if you could describe what you experienced out there.
PHILIPP ENG: Well, very proud of everyone at BMW and Team RLL, such as my teammates. What Augusto did in the last couple of hours was outstanding, how he overtook the Ferrari. I have never seen a move like this before. It was something to be very proud of, and this is a special win for all of us because many of us have been involved in the development process of the M8 GTE very early, and to be celebrating the success now together with BMW and RLL is a milestone. I'm very proud of this.
So thanks to everyone. It's pretty emotional. This one is for you, Charly. I think he was supporting us a lot. I was happy enough to be racing for him one year, and I've learned a lot. So I could feel he was crossing his fingers for us today. Thanks for that.
THE MODERATOR: Augusto, you were kind of a late addition to the driver lineup here, and you're coming away with a watch and, obviously, a lot of credit for what went on today. Just tell us about it from your perspective.
AUGUSTO FARFUS: Yeah, I was‑‑ I had a late call last week. Unfortunately, Tom could not get his Visa done, and BMW called me just asking, would you be available to do so? I said, of course. This is, for me, one of the highlights of the season. I love this place. Yeah, of course I felt sorry for Tom for not being here. He deserves it as much as anyone seated in this room. But I celebrated. I said, okay, let's see what it will bring.
It was a difficult race, you know. We had a big part of it was dry, and then I had like half on a drizzling track. So we just tried to keep the car there without any big mistakes. And then the last two hours was difficult, but I knew that I had to take the lead, and that was the aim. And I got the lead, and then they put the red flag.
As Philipp said, today we had a special co‑driver in Charly Lamm, who passed last week. For me, he was much more than a friend. He was much more than a race enthusiast. He was with me in the car. We have to celebrate, we're going to celebrate because I'm sure he would be the first one to celebrate, but we cannot forget, and he will not be forgotten from what he did and everything I've learned. So, yeah, I'm keen to get the watch and show up to Charly. He's applauding all of us.

Q. Hi. Any of you could answer this, but your class is always one of the most competitive through and through, and there was a lot of time that there were a lot of great cars on the lead lap together and really fighting it out. If you could maybe just address kind of the competition of your class as well.
AUGUSTO FARFUS: It was ‑‑ I don't think none of the cars in our class ever had more than 20 to 30 seconds gap throughout the whole race. So the GTLM is always constant fighting. It's all professional, extremely talented drivers, and you have to be focused.
We have seen throughout the years that this race is getting more like a sprint than an endurance. It's pedal to the metal from the start to the end, and having this difficult weather where there is not a lot of external influences, it's just about the driver of the car and try to do your very best. So even in the weather, in the extremely rain, we were all fighting. So it shows how great is this race, and I'm keen to get the win this time.

Q. Question for Colton Herta. I think for the future the open wheel business will have priority for you nevertheless. Can we see you again in a GT race or maybe prototype in IMSA business?
COLTON HERTA: Yeah, I'm doing all the long races with BMW. So I'll be at Sebring and Petit Le Mans. I'd like to do more. Obviously, it all depends on my open wheel schedule. GT racing is so much fun, so if BMW lets me do more, I'll always accept it.

Q. Can any one of you share some insights on how the finish to this race with the Ford being a few liters shy of fuel and just the crazy timing. It seemed to be the ultimate endurance racing outcome, where even something that looked like a guarantee could change at the last minute.
AUGUSTO FARFUS: I had a similar experience back in Petit, when there was similar weather conditions, I think maybe three or four years ago. And I was on the lead halfway through the race, and then they put a red flag out. I pitted, I think, maybe two or three laps before, and then they put a red flag, and we lost the race there. So today the luck was on our side.
I have to say the team was extremely on it. The strategy, we knew all the possible scenarios. So we prepare‑‑ we are prepared for a four‑hour stint for myself, which was the maximum driving time. So I jump in the car, and I was three hours, probably 59 into it, and I was ready to go to the end.
Hats off to all the BMW guys, the team, because they kept us on top of the game, and that gives us the advantage. The driver wins the race, but we win the race because of a great team behind us. Today was a great example of an extremely strong lineup of drivers, but even better team behind all of us.

Q. How do you feel the BMW transitioned throughout the race from the dry conditions into the wet conditions? Do you feel that the wet conditions helped the car at all?
PHILIPP ENG: Well, I think we were strong in both. I think we were on the lead in one of the dry stints as well. We were certainly always in the game. Drivability was great. The car was really good fun on the dry. On the wet, I only got to drive it under safety car conditions. So you'd better ask this gentleman to my left.
But, yeah, I think we had a strong package. Like Augusto said, it was a complete team effort today. Nobody made any mistakes. It was always the right call. I guess nowadays that's how you win a 24 hour race.

Q. Augusto, could you talk about driving in the rain. Was it a white knuckle experience during the green flag periods?
AUGUSTO FARFUS: It was difficult. The rain was coming and going. I would say for 90 percent of my driving time in the rain it was aquaplaning. It was searching the limit, trying to be safe, but in those conditions, there was‑‑ everything was pretty much very unpredictable. But I knew how important it was to always be around the lead, if not on the lead, because a safety car, a red flag was around the corner.
So with all the spray coming, and this year the GTDs have a much closer pace to us, especially on the wet because they have ABS. So every braking point after restart, the GTDs were all over. So you had to be calm. I knew I could have made‑‑ I knew the pace was as good as the front runners, but everybody was on the limit. You could see how many mistakes happen.
Turn one, I think, was the biggest example. I went off probably ten times, so did the other competitors, because everybody was on the same mission. Keep the lead because you don't know what will happen.
Lucky enough, shortly before the red, I took the lead. I passed the cars and put me in the lead. So today it was on our side.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations. Thank you for joining us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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