Gil de Ferran was a professional racing driver and team owner, achieved notable success as the Champ Car champion in both 2000 and 2001 while driving for Team Penske. He also secured victory in the 2003 Indianapolis 500. In 2009, de Ferran finished as the runner-up in the American Le Mans Series LMP1 class, competing with his own team, de Ferran Motorsports.
Born- 11 November 1967
Died- 29 December 2023
Spouse-Angela de Ferran
Profession- French-Brazilian motorsports racing driver
Nationality- Brazilian, French
Gil de Ferran, born on November 11, 1967, is a Brazilian racing driver. Details regarding Gil de Ferran’s parents are not known or publicly disclosed.
Gil de Ferran was married to Angela. The couple resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Angela, his English wife, is known to have worked for Paul Stewart Racing.
Gil de Ferran has two children: a daughter named Anna and a son named Luke.
Inspired by the success of fellow Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi, Gil de Ferran initiated his racing career in the early 1980s, starting with kart racing. Progressing through Formula Ford in 1987 and Formula Three in 1991, he secured third place in the 1991 British Formula Three season while driving for Edenbridge Racing. In 1992, with Paul Stewart Racing, de Ferran clinched the title, winning seven races.
Moving to International Formula 3000 in 1993 and 1994 with Paul Stewart Racing, he finished fourth in 1993 and contended for the championship in 1994, ultimately finishing third. In 1995, he earned a drive with Hall/VDS Racing in the CART IndyCar series, impressing despite initial doubts about his fame. The 1996 season saw him win at Cleveland’s street circuit.While rumors circulated about a move to Stewart Grand Prix in Formula One, de Ferran stayed in the United States for 1997, joining Walker Racing. Despite finishing as the runner-up to Alex Zanardi in 1997, he faced challenges in 1998 due to unreliability and tire performance, ending the season in 12th place.
In 1999, de Ferran secured a breakthrough victory at Portland International Raceway. Toward the end of the season, he joined Marlboro Team Penske, replacing Greg Moore, who tragically died in a crash. In 2000, de Ferran set a record lap speed during CART qualifying at California Speedway and subsequently won the series championship.
His Penske years, marked by analytical prowess and integrity, resulted in two CART titles and a victory at the Indianapolis 500 in 2003, despite sustaining a broken back earlier that year. Following this triumph, de Ferran retired at the end of 2003, concluding his career with a win at Texas Motor Speedway, albeit overshadowed by a serious crash involving fellow racer Kenny Bräck.
In 2005, Gil de Ferran transitioned to the BAR-Honda Formula One team, serving as their Sports Director. However, he resigned from the position in July 2007, citing increasing discomfort with the team’s direction.
In July 2018, de Ferran assumed the role of sporting director for McLaren, succeeding Eric Boullier who had resigned. However, he left the team in early 2021.
In May 2023, McLaren reintegrated de Ferran in a consultant advisory role as part of their restructuring process.
On January 29, 2008, Gil de Ferran announced his return to racing as both a driver and team owner. He fielded a factory-backed LMP2 class Acura ARX-01b prototype in the American Le Mans Series under the banner of de Ferran Motorsports. Competing from the midway point of the 2008 season onward, de Ferran, alongside Simon Pagenaud, managed the team and shared driving duties.
In 2009, de Ferran Motorsports, chosen by Honda, developed the Acura ARX-02a for the LMP1 division in the American Le Mans Series. The team achieved significant success, securing five outright wins, seven poles, seven fastest laps, and finishing as runners-up in the ALMS LMP1 class.
Midway through 2009, de Ferran announced his retirement from driving, expressing his intention to focus on expanding his team. Prior to the 2010 IZOD IndyCar season, he merged his team with Luczo Dragon Racing, forming de Ferran Dragon Racing. The team, led by driver Raphael Matos, earned four Top Ten finishes in its debut season and showed promise in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
In 2010, de Ferran played a crucial role in the development of the future IndyCar, representing team owner interests as part of the ICONIC committee. Unfortunately, in 2011, de Ferran Dragon Racing had to close its doors due to a lack of funding despite attempts to stay operational for the new season.
In July 2013, Autosport magazine recognized Gil de Ferran’s exceptional driving skills and named him one of the 50 greatest drivers who had never participated in Formula One.
Gil de Ferran Net Worth
As of the time of Gil de Ferran’s passing, his estimated net worth or net income is reported to be in the range of $1 million to $6 million.
Cause of Death
Gil de Ferran, the 2003 Indianapolis 500 champion and holder of the closed-course land speed record, passed away on Friday while participating in a race with his son at The Concourse Club in Florida. This tragic event was confirmed by several former colleagues to The Associated Press. De Ferran, aged 56, was reportedly with his son, Luke, at the private course in Opa-Locka, Florida, when he pulled over, expressing he wasn’t feeling well.
Notably, de Ferran’s victory in the 2003 Indy 500 marked the third consecutive win for Roger Penske in the renowned race, solidifying Penske’s record with a total of 19 victories in the iconic Memorial Day weekend event.
“We are terribly saddened to hear about the tragic loss of Gil de Ferran. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Angela, Anna, Luke and the entire de Ferran family,” Penske said in a statement. “Gil defined class as a driver and a gentleman. As an IndyCar Champion and an Indianapolis 500 winner, Gil accomplished so much during his career.
“He was beloved by so many and he was a great friend to the Team Penske family and to the entire international motorsports community. It’s a tragic loss and he will be deeply missed.”
Kanaan said he was “devastated” at the loss of the Brazilian icon.
“He was one of my best friends and we grew up together and lately and we worked together at McLaren,” Kanaan told The Associated Press. “In the beginning of this year he was a mentor, helping me out. I lost a dear friend. I am devastated. I have to say, he went in Gil style, driving a racecar. If I could choose a way to go, that’s what I could do.”
According to fellow Brazilian driver Tony Kanaan, de Ferran suffered a heart attack and despite efforts, could not be revived.
“Gil de Ferran shone in Brazilian and foreign tracks, having as highlights his English Formula 3 title, his two IndyCar championships, and the victory at Indy 500 in 2003. In my name and in the name of our confederation, we pray to God so He welcomes our brother in all glory and comforts his family, friends and millions of fans all over the world.”