Gil de Ferran


Gil de Ferran

Infobox racing driver
name = Gil de Ferran


pixels =
caption = deletable image-caption
de Ferran won two CART championships in 2000 and 2001.
nationality = BRA
date of birth = Birth date and age|1967|11|11
place of birth = Paris, France
date of death =
retired =
last series = Indy Racing League IndyCar Series
years active = 2001-2003
teams = Penske Racing
starts = 31
wins = 5
poles = 5
fastest laps =
best finish = 2nd
year = 2003
Infobox racing driver
last series = CART Championship Car
years active = 1995-2001
teams = Hall Racing
Walker Racing
Penske Racing
starts = 129
wins = 7
poles = 16
fastest laps =
best finish = 1st
year = 2000 & 2001
prev series = Formula 3000
British Formula Three
prev series years = 1993-1994
1991-1992
titles = CART World Series Champion
British Formula Three Champion
title years = 2000, 2001
1992
awards = Indianapolis 500 winner
award years = 2003

Gil de Ferran (born November 11, 1967 in Paris, France), to Brazilian parents, is a racing driver. De Ferran was the 2000 and 2001 Champ Car champion driving for the Penske Honda Team and the winner of the 2003 Indianapolis 500.

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, De Ferran finished the 1991 British Formula Three Championship season in third, only behind Rubens Barrichello and David Coulthard. For the 1992 season, De Ferran moved to Paul Stewart Racing and won the British Formula Three Championship title, scoring seven wins in the process. 1993 and 1994 were spent driving for Paul Stewart Racing in Formula 3000. De Ferran finished fourth in the series in 1993 and third in 1994. 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 and also due to Verstappen's impressive test times.

At the end of 1994 de Ferran was invited to test a Champ Car by the Jim Hall team. 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 Champ Car win in the last race of the year at Laguna Seca.

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 the Derrick Walker/Valvoline team.

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. At Portland he lost out to PacWest Racing's Mark Blundell in the closest finish in Champ Car 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 Champ Car racing at the end of 1999. De Ferran signed for a ride with Penske Racing racing for 2000, partnering highly rated Canadian Greg Moore. When Moore was killed in the last race of 1999, the seat went to fellow Brazilian Hélio Castroneves.

The Penske years saw de Ferran finally fulfil the promise of his earlier career with two Champ Car 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 controversially 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. Once in the IRL he also did not deride the rival Champ Car series like Al Unser, Jr. and others who had switched sides had done.

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.

In 2005, he moved to BAR Honda Formula One as their Sports Director. He resigned from this position in July 2007 after becoming "increasingly uncomfortable" with the team.cite news |title=De Ferran quits role with Honda |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/6901609.stm |publisher=BBC Sport |date=2007-07-16 |accessdate=2007-07-16 ]

On January 29, 2008 de Ferran announced that he will return to the cockpit and field a factory-backed LMP2 class Acura ARX-01b prototype in the American Le Mans Series. The team will begin racing sometime before the mid-way point of the 2008 season. [Olson, Jeff. [http://www.speedtv.com/articles/auto/alms/42793/ De Ferran to Become Acura Owner/Driver] , SpeedTV.com, January 29, 2008]

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

Champ Car career results

0 championships, 5 victories

Complete IndyCar Results

IndyCar

Indianapolis 500 results

External links

* [http://www.gildeferran.com.br/ Gil de Ferran's official website]

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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