Gil de Ferran Will Field ARX-01b Car And Returns To Cockpit In ALMS
Gil de Ferran is literally back in the driver's seat in 2008.
The 2003 Indy 500 winner and two-time CART series point champion returns to U.S. motor racing in a big way this year.
The popular Brazilian competitor has announced an agreement with Acura Motorsports to enter a fourth Acura ARX-01b sports car in the LMP2 division of the 2008 American Le Mans Series.
The latest Acura entry will be campaigned by de Ferran Motorsports, a newly formed team owned by de Ferran. De Ferran will return to the cockpit as the team's primary driver.
De Ferran Motorsports will join the three Acura ALMS teams in 2008 with Andretti Green Racing, Patron Highcroft Racing and Lowe's Fernandez Racing also competing on the 12-race ALMS tour.
Headquarters for de Ferran Motorsports is in Brownsburg, Ind.
"It is extremely exciting to be involved in the new Acura Motorsports program, both as a team owner and as a driver," said de Ferran. "The American Le Mans Series has a tremendous combination of technology and fierce competition. The cars look fantastic and the racing in the ALMS series is spectacular.
"I am eager to get back into the driver's seat and race again. I know this program will be a challenge for me both on and off the track. We have already employed veteran racing executive John Anderson as general manager, which is a great start for our organization. Together, we are working hard to put all the remaining pieces in place."
While the original three Acura teams will compete in all 11 American Le Mans Series events, the de Ferran team will enter the series sometimes before mid-season.
De Ferran ventures into team ownership after serving as Sporting Director for the Honda Formula One racing team from 2005 to 2007. His most recent competition in a race car came at Texas Motor Speedway on October 12, 2003, when he drove to victory for Team Penske in the IndyCar Season finale. He retired from driving after that event.
"The 2007 American Le Mans Series was a learning experience for Acura and HPD," said Erik Berkman, new president of HPD. "Our three teams did a great job last year in gaining information and racing competitively. Now, we are thrilled to add another proven champion to our Acura family, with Gil de Ferran and his new organization. Gil's racing history is certainly impressive, and we plan to continue the process of making the Acura ARX-01b a winner. We hope to have the de Ferran car on track as soon as possible to join in our quest for victories in 2008."
The American Le Mans Series is extremely excited to add de Ferran to its driver lineup as well as the team as a top contender in the LMP2 class.
"Gil de Ferran is another 'A List' name being added to the American Le Mans Series that resonates throughout motorsports, joining the likes of Roger Penske, Bobby Rahal, Michael Andretti and many others," said Scott Atherton, ALMS president. "His stellar career as both a championship-winning driver in CART and key player in Formula 1 for Honda exemplifies excellence in our industry. There is no doubt in my mind that he will be successful in both roles with Acura. We welcome him into the American Le Mans Series paddock with open arms and eagerly await his debut as a driver and team owner later this season."