Gil de Ferran, a two-time IndyCar Series champion and winner of the 2003 Indianapolis 500, will join Honda Performance Development, the racing arm of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. as a technical consultant and advisor, de Ferran and HPD officials announced Saturday at the Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Associated with HPD and the Honda Racing program since 1996, de Ferran won his first Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) Indy car race for Honda at the 1996 Cleveland Grand Prix. He went on to score another six wins and 16 poles with Honda power, and claimed the 2000 and 2001 CART Indycar World Series championships.
In qualifying for the 2000 CART season finale at California Speedway, de Ferran set a world closed-course speed record of 241.426 mph, a record that still stands as the fastest ever recorded at an official race meeting.
De Ferran won the 2003 Indianapolis 500, then retired from open-wheel competition at the end of that season. But he returned to racing, with HPD, in 2008 as owner/driver of an Acura ARX-01b sports car in American Le Mans Series competition, More race victories followed, along with the ALMS championship in 2009 driving the new LMP1 category Acura ARX-02a.
In addition to his success as a driver and team owner, de Ferran also served as Sporting Director for the Honda Formula One team from 2005-07.
"We're thrilled to have Gil rejoin the HPD family as a technical consultant and advisor," said Art St. Cyr, HPD president. "It feels like a homecoming for us, as Gil has played such an important role for the Honda Racing effort in both open-wheel and sports-car racing for such a long time. His skills and expertise are almost impossible to duplicate, and we look forward to his continuing contributions to HPD's racing programs."
"I have always had the utmost respect and admiration for Honda and its role in motorsports," said de Ferran. "Honda has been a common thread in my racing career since we first worked to develop their Indy car engines in 1996, which led to winning races and championships, followed by my time in Formula One and the amazing Acura ARX-02a. Throughout our long and storied history, whatever role I played, we have developed a great, successful, enjoyable and effective working relationship. I look forward to contributing to Honda's efforts once again."
Honda Performance Development (HPD) is the Honda racing company within North America. Located in Santa Clarita, Calif., HPD is the technical operations center for high-performance Honda racing cars and engines.
As one of three engine suppliers to the IZOD IndyCar Series, Honda won the 2012 Indianapolis 500 with driver Dario Franchitti; and has scored 196 race victories in both CART and IZOD IndyCar Series competition since 1994.
HPD takes part in both the American Le Mans Series – where the company swept all manufacturer, engine, team and driver awards in the 2012 ALMS LMP1 and LMP2 categories – and the FIA World Endurance Championship, winning the inaugural LMP2 championship during a year where it again took a LMP2 class win at the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans, the company's second class win at Le Mans in just three attempts.
HPD offers a variety of race engines for track applications from prototype sports cars to karting; and showcases "fun-to-drive" products for professional, amateur and entry-level racers.