Gil de Ferran dies at 56

Gil de Ferran dies at 56

Open Talk


January 16th, 2024

Gil de Ferran, the accomplished Brazilian racing driver who clinched victory at the 2003 Indianapolis 500 and held the closed-course land speed record, tragically passed away at the age of 56 while racing with his son, Luke, at The Concourse Club in Florida. The Associated Press reported that de Ferran suffered a fatal heart attack, leaving the motorsports community in mourning.

Gil de Ferran's Racing Legacy

Gil de Ferran's illustrious career reached its pinnacle in 2003 when he secured a historic win at the Indianapolis 500 for Roger Penske. This victory marked Penske's third consecutive triumph in the iconic race, solidifying his record with an unprecedented 19 victories on Memorial Day weekends.

Roger Penske, in a heartfelt statement, expressed deep sorrow at the tragic passing of de Ferran. He praised Gil's class both on and off the track, emphasizing his significant contributions to IndyCar as a champion and an Indianapolis 500 winner.

A Devastated Racing Community

Close friend and fellow Brazilian driver Tony Kanaan, devastated by the loss, shared memories of their enduring friendship and collaboration at McLaren. Kanaan highlighted de Ferran's mentorship and described his passing as a profound loss to the racing world. Juan Pablo Montoya, another IndyCar champion, echoed the sentiment, calling de Ferran an amazing guy and a great racer.

The Brazilian Motorsports Confederation, through its president Giovanni Guerra, acknowledged de Ferran's outstanding achievements, including his English Formula 3 title, two IndyCar championships, and the iconic Indy 500 victory in 2003.

McLaren Racing's Tribute

McLaren Racing, where de Ferran served as a consultant, expressed shock and deep sadness over the loss of a beloved member of their racing family. CEO Zak Brown, a close friend of de Ferran, reminisced about their shared experiences and victories, pledging to dedicate the next win to Gil's memory.

Land Speed Record and Championships

In addition to his Indy 500 triumphs, de Ferran set a closed-course land speed record in 2000 at California Speedway, reaching an impressive 241.428 mph during CART qualifying. His remarkable career included victories in the 2000 and 2001 Champ Car titles and a runner-up finish in the 2009 American Le Mans Series.

Racing Community Pays Tribute

The motorsports community, including Marco Andretti, shared heartfelt tributes on social media, reflecting on de Ferran's passion for the sport. Andretti credited de Ferran as one of the reasons for his Formula One tests and thanked him for his contributions to his life.

A Lasting Legacy

Gil de Ferran's legacy extends beyond the racetrack. Inspired by Emerson Fittipaldi, he began his career in karting before conquering the European ladder system. Survived by his wife, Angela, daughter Anna, and son Luke, the de Ferran family has left an indelible mark on the racing world.

In closing, we remember Gil de Ferran not only for his remarkable achievements but also for the camaraderie, mentorship, and passion he brought to the world of motorsports. Rest in peace, Gil.

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Klind Parangoni Author

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