Gil de Ferran

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Gil de Ferran
Gil de Ferran 2011 Indianapolis.JPG
de Ferran at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in March 2011.
NationalityBrazilian
Born (1967-11-11) November 11, 1967 (age 51)
Paris, France
IRL IndyCar Series
Years active2001–2003
TeamsPenske Racing
Starts31
Wins5
Poles5
Best finish2nd in 2003
CART Championship Car
Years active1995–2001
TeamsHall Racing
Walker Racing
Penske Racing
Starts129
Wins7
Poles16
Best finish1st in 2000 & 2001
Previous series
1991-1992
1993-1994
British Formula Three
Formula 3000
Championship titles
1992
2000-2001
2003
British Formula Three Champion
CART World Series Champion
Indianapolis 500 winner
Awards
1995CART Rookie of the Year
De Ferran's car in 2001

Gil de Ferran (born November 11, 1967 in Paris, France) is a French-born Brazilian professional racing driver and team owner. De Ferran was the 2000 and 2001 Champ Car champion driving for Team Penske and the winner of the 2003 Indianapolis 500. He also finished runner-up in the American Le Mans Series LMP1 class with his own de Ferran Motorsports.

Early career[edit]

Inspired by the success of fellow Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi, de Ferran began his career in kart racing in the early 1980s. He graduated to Formula Ford level in 1987 and Formula Three in 1991. Driving for Edenbridge Racing, De Ferran finished the 1991 British Formula Three season in third, only behind Rubens Barrichello and David Coulthard. For the 1992 season, De Ferran moved to Paul Stewart Racing and won the title, scoring seven wins in the process.

1993 and 1994 were spent driving for Paul Stewart Racing in International Formula 3000. De Ferran finished fourth in the series in 1993 and then took the championship down to the wire in 1994, ultimately finishing third. In 1993, De Ferran tested for a day the Footwork Arrows Formula One team along with Dutch racer Jos Verstappen. His day was seriously compromised after he bumped his head while walking nearby the motorhome. His times also compared poorly to Verstappen's.

CART[edit]

At the end of 1994, de Ferran was invited to test a CART by Hall/VDS Racing. Despite the worries of the team's sponsor Pennzoil that de Ferran was not famous enough name for their car, the team was sufficiently impressed to offer de Ferran a drive for 1995. With no top-line Formula One drive available de Ferran took up the offer to drive in America.

De Ferran won the rookie of the year award in 1995 by finishing 14th. He scored his first CART win in the last race of the year at Laguna Seca Raceway.

In 1996, de Ferran was a consistent challenger but only scored one win, at Cleveland. This win was the last for veteran car owner and driver Jim Hall who retired from the sport at the end of 1996. Hall's retirement also spelled the end of the Pennzoil Hall team. Despite rumours that he would be a driver for the new Stewart Grand Prix Formula One team, de Ferran stayed in America for 1997, joining Walker Racing.

De Ferran finished 1997 as runner-up to Alex Zanardi with ten top-ten finishes but failed to score a single victory. He looked on course to win the season opener at Homestead but was knocked out of the lead by a lapped driver, Dennis Vitolo. At the Grand Prix of Portland he lost out to PacWest Racing's Mark Blundell in the closest finish in CART history.

The expected championship challenge never materialized in 1998. Unreliability, driver errors and the inferior performance of the Goodyear tires compared to the Firestone tires all combined to leave de Ferran 12th in the standings, again with no wins in the year.

In 1999 the breakthrough finally came as de Ferran beat Juan Pablo Montoya at Portland to take his first win since mid-1996 and the Walker team's first since early-1995. However that victory would be the end of an era as Goodyear and Valvoline both left CART racing at the end of 1999. Toward the end of that season, de Ferran and Greg Moore were signed to Marlboro Team Penske to replace Al Unser, Jr. and the rotating arrangement of drivers employed after Andre Ribeiro retired. However, Moore was killed in a crash in the season finale and de Ferran's fellow countryman Hélio Castroneves joined him.

On October 28, 2000, during CART qualifying at California Speedway, de Ferran set the track record for fastest lap at 241.428 mph (388.541 km/h).[1] As of August 2018, this stands as the fastest qualifying lap speed ever recorded at an official race meeting.[2]

The Penske years saw de Ferran finally fulfil the promise of his earlier career with two CART titles and an Indy 500 victory. His analytical approach earned him comparisons with Penske's first driver, Mark Donohue. He also garnered praise for his politeness and integrity: when Penske switched to the Indy Racing League in 2002, he did not criticize the move even though it meant he could not defend his Champ Car title.

In 2003, de Ferran was injured during a race at Texas, suffering a broken back. Despite the injury, de Ferran passed his teammate, Castroneves with 31 laps left to win an emotional victory at the 2003 Indianapolis 500. It also was the second 1-2 finish for Penske Racing in the Indianapolis 500.

Following his Indianapolis triumph de Ferran decided to retire at the end of 2003. He won his final race, although the moment was soured by a terrifying crash during the race that left fellow Indy winner Kenny Bräck seriously injured.

Formula One managerial career[edit]

In 2005, he moved to the BAR-Honda Formula One team as their Sports Director. He resigned from this position in July 2007 after becoming "increasingly uncomfortable" with the team.[3]

In July 2018 de Ferran was made sporting director for McLaren following Eric Boullier's resignation[4].

de Ferran Motorsports[edit]

On January 29, 2008 de Ferran announced that he would return to the cockpit and field a factory-backed LMP2 class Acura ARX-01b prototype in the American Le Mans Series, under the team name de Ferran Motorsports. The team began competing around the mid-way point of the 2008 season, with De Ferran running the team and sharing driving duties with Simon Pagenaud.[5]

Success again was immediate and de Ferran Motorsports took four front row grid positions, led six races and scored three podium finishes in just eight starts.

2009 saw another challenge when de Ferran Motorsports was chosen by Honda to develop the Acura ARX-02a for competition in the LMP1 division of the American Le Mans Series. The team scored five outright wins, seven poles, seven fastest laps and finished runners up in the ALMS LMP1 class.

Return to IndyCar[edit]

Half way through 2009 de Ferran announced his decision to retire from the cockpit at the end of the racing season, expressing his intention to concentrate all his resources on expanding his team, making public his desire to return to IndyCar racing as a front running team owner. Prior to the start of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar season, de Ferran merged his team with Luczo Dragon Racing, a team started by Jay Penske, the son of de Ferran’s former boss Roger Penske, and Steve Luczo, a successful technology leader and racing enthusiast. The new team was named de Ferran Dragon Racing and is the realization of de Ferran’s ambition to return to IndyCar.

De Ferran Dragon Racing, with driver Raphael Matos, earned four Top Ten finishes in its debut campaign and led 15 laps during the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

In 2010, IndyCar also began planning for a completely new car concept, to debut during the 2012 season. Due to his technical knowledge, motorsports experience across different series and roles, as well as the widespread respect he holds within the racing industry, de Ferran was chosen by his team owner peers to represent their interests in the development of the future IndyCar. As part of the ICONIC committee, who created the concept for the future of IndyCar Racing.

In 2011 de Ferran Dragon racing closed its doors due to lack of funding, having attempted to stay operational for the new season.

Recognition[edit]

In July 2013, Autosport magazine named De Ferran one of the 50 greatest drivers to have never raced in Formula One.

Personal life[edit]

De Ferran currently lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his English wife Angela and children Anna (born 1995) and Luke (born 1997).

Motorsports career results[edit]

Complete International Formula 3000 results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 DC Points
1993 Paul Stewart Racing DON
Ret
SIL
1
PAU
Ret
PER
Ret
HOC
9†
NÜR
2
SPA
2
MAG
Ret
NOG
7
4th 21
1994 Paul Stewart Racing SIL
3
PAU
1
CAT
Ret
PER
1
HOC
3
SPA
5
EST
Ret
MAG
Ret
3rd 28

Complete American Open Wheel Racing results[edit]

(key)

CART career results[edit]

Year Team Wins Points Championship Finish
1995 Hall/VDS Racing 1 56 14th
1996 Hall/VDS Racing 1 104 6th
1997 Walker Racing 0 162 2nd
1998 Walker Racing 0 67 12th
1999 Walker Racing 1 108 8th
2000 Penske Racing 2 168 1st
2001 Penske Racing 2 199 1st

CART[edit]

Year Team Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Rank Points
1995 Hall/VDS Racing Reynard 95i Mercedes-Benz IC108B V8t MIA
Ret
SRF
16
PHX
11
LBH
27
NZR
19
INDY
Ret
MIL
8
DET
16
POR
10
ROA
Ret
TOR
16
CLE
14
MIS
12
MDO
Ret
NHM
7
VAN
2
LS
1
14th 56
1996 Hall/VDS Racing Reynard 96i Honda HRH V8t MIA
2
RIO
10
SRF
Ret
LBH
5
NZR
Ret
MIS1
9
MIL
9
DET
3
POR
2
CLE
1
TOR
18
MIS2
Ret
MDO
17
ROA
Ret
VAN
Ret
LS
Ret
6th 104
1997 Walker Racing Reynard 97i Honda HRR V8t MIA
Ret
SRF
5
LBH
Ret
NZR
4
RIO
11
STL
3
MIL
7
DET
3
POR
2
CLE
2
TOR
Ret
MIS
3
MDO
6
ROA
3
VAN
3
LS
5
FON
6
2nd 162
1998 Walker Racing Reynard 98i Honda HRK V8t MIA
7
MOT
3
LBH
Ret
NZR
4
RIO
Ret
STL
6
MIL
Ret
DET
3
POR
Ret
CLE
6
TOR
Ret
MIS
Ret
MDO
9
ROA
Ret
VAN
Ret
LS
Ret
HOU
Ret
SRF
14
FON
Ret
12th 67
1999 Walker Racing Reynard 99i Honda HRS V8t MIA
6
MOT
2
LBH
6
NZR
15
RIO
10
STL
Ret
MIL
3
POR
1
CLE
2
ROA
Ret
TOR
Ret
MIS
Ret
DET
Ret
MDO
6
CHI
13
VAN
Ret
LS
6
HOU
17
SRF
Ret
FON
9
8th 108
2000 Penske Racing Reynard 2Ki Honda HR-0 V8t MIA
6
LBH
7
RIO
Ret
MOT
9
NZR
1
MIL
12
DET
9
POR
1
CLE
Ret
TOR
5
MIS
Ret
CHI
3
MDO
2
ROA
Ret
VAN
5
LS
2
STL
8
HOU
3
SRF
Ret
FON
3
1st 168
2001 Penske Racing Reynard 01i Honda HR-1 V8t MTY
2
LBH
3
TXS
NH
NZR
Ret
MOT
Ret
MIL
7
DET
6
POR
13
CLE
4
TOR
14
MIS
Ret
CHI
3
MDO
2
ROA
5
VAN
2
LAU
8
ROC
1
HOU
1
LS
3
SRF
4
FON
6
1st 199

2 championships, 7 victories

Indy Racing League career results[edit]

Year Team Wins Points Championship Finish
2001 Penske Racing 0 46 28th
2002 Penske Racing 2 443 3rd
2003 Penske Racing 3 489 2nd

0 championships, 5 victories

IndyCar Series[edit]

Year Team Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Rank Points
2001 Penske Racing Dallara IR-01 Oldsmobile Aurora V8 PHX
Ret
HMS ATL INDY
2
TXS PPIR RIR KAN NSH KTY STL CHI TX2 28th 46
2002 Penske Racing Dallara IR-02 Chevrolet Indy V8 HMS
2
PHX
2
FON
4
NZR
3
INDY
10
TXS
16
PPIR
1
RIR
2
KAN
5
NSH
2
MIS
5
KTY
21
STL
1
CHI
Ret
TX2
INJ
3rd 443
2003 Penske Racing Dallara IR-03 Toyota Indy V8 HMS
2
PHX
Ret
MOT
INJ
PPIR
3
RIR
3
KAN
3
NSH
1
MIS
7
STL
3
KTY
9
NZR
4
CHI
12
TX2
1
2nd 489
G-Force GF09 INDY
1
TXS
8
FON
15

Indianapolis 500 results[edit]

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish Team
1995 Reynard 95i Mercedes-Benz IC108B V8t 19 29 Hall/VDS Racing
2001 Dallara IR-01 Oldsmobile Aurora V8 5 2 Penske Racing
2002 Dallara IR-02 Chevrolet Indy V8 14 10 Penske Racing
2003 G-Force GF09 Toyota Indy V8 10 1 Penske Racing

Complete American Le Mans Series results[edit]

Year Entrant Class Chassis Engine Tyres 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Rank Points
2008 de Ferran Motorsports LMP2 Acura ARX-01b Acura 3.4L V8 M SEB STP LNB UTA
3
LIM
14/7
MID
Ret
AME
18/8
MOS
7/5
DET
3
PET
8/5
MON
4/2
9th 85
2009 de Ferran Motorsports LMP1 Acura ARX-02a Acura 4.0L V8 M SEB
Ret
STP
Ret
LNB
1
UTA
1
LIM
1
MID
1
AME
2
MOS
2
PET
24/7
MON
1
2nd 162

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "De Ferran wins pole, sets record". Las Vegas Sun. October 28, 2000. Archived from the original on November 10, 2013.
  2. ^ Webster, George (May 16, 2009). "Who holds the world's closed course record? A.J. Foyt". PRN Motorsport Magazine. Archived from the original on August 10, 2018.
  3. ^ "De Ferran quits role with Honda". BBC Sport. 2007-07-16. Retrieved 2007-07-16.
  4. ^ https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/137192/boullier-resigns-from-mclaren-racing-chief-role
  5. ^ Olson, Jeff. De Ferran to Become Acura Owner/Driver Archived 2008-02-01 at the Wayback Machine., SpeedTV.com, January 29, 2008
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Rubens Barrichello
British Formula Three Champion
1992
Succeeded by
Kelvin Burt
Preceded by
Jacques Villeneuve
CART Rookie of the Year
1995
Succeeded by
Alex Zanardi
Preceded by
Juan Pablo Montoya
CART Series
Champion

2000-2001
Succeeded by
Cristiano da Matta
Preceded by
Hélio Castroneves
Indianapolis 500 Winner
2003
Succeeded by
Buddy Rice