Special season finale for de Ferran Motorsports Gil de Ferran Indianapolis, IN, Friday 02 October, 2009 - The final round of this year's American Le Mans Series at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday 10 October will mark an emotional ...
Special season finale for de Ferran Motorsports Gil de Ferran
Indianapolis, IN, Friday 02 October, 2009 - The final round of this year's American Le Mans Series at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday 10 October will mark an emotional conclusion to what's been a remarkable first full season of competition for de Ferran Motorsports.
The four hour sportscar showdown on the Monterey Peninsula will bring down the curtain on team owner Gil de Ferran's driving career - a glittering career that has included capturing, two outright IndyCar titles in 2000 and 2001 as well as victory in the 2003 Indianapolis 500.
For the past 18 months the 41-year-old Fort Lauderdale-based Brazilian legend has been racing for and running de Ferran Motorosports - the new team that consistently has been the pacesetter in the 2009 ALMS. In the nine rounds staged to date, the No. 66 XM Radio de Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX-02a, which de Ferran shares with the highly-rated Frenchman Simon Pagenaud, has scored more wins, more pole positions and more fastest laps than any of its rivals.
Thanks to its proven speed, the team still has an outside chance of taking top honours in the premier LMP1 class despite suffering a major setback in the previous round at Road Atlanta when de Ferran was knocked off the circuit by an errant back-marker when comfortably leading the two Peugeots that proceeded to finish first and second when the race was stopped after a cloud burst.
"As we go into Laguna Seca its funny to think it is my last professional race," admits de Ferran. "In the same token that's exactly what I shouldn't be thinking since we are still in the fight for the championship and also have a great opportunity to win the last round of the American Le Mans Series in what I consider to be one of the greatest road courses in the world. Laguna is also the site of one of our best performances last year. It is a circuit we understand well and I am looking forward to finishing the season and my racing career on a high."
To mark his final race, de Ferran has been appointed Grand Marshal at Laguna Seca and the No. 66 XM Radio de Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX-02a will be sporting a special livery honouring the iconic Chaparral sportscars of the Sixties and Seventies. The pioneering Chaparrals were the creation of Jim Hall, the man who gave de Ferran his first IndyCar drive in North America. Adding to the historical ties, it was at Laguna Seca that Hall and de Ferran scored their first IndyCar win at the end of their first season together in 1995 and the winning Pennzoil car - together with two of the famous Chaparrals and Jim Hall - will be at the venue for what's certain to be a very special milestone weekend for all involved.
While sure to be caught up in the occasion, it will be business as usual for Gil's young team-mate Simon Pagenaud who is determined to build on the successes he's already savoured in 2009.
"Laguna is a great track and I always enjoy going to Monterey it is a pleasure to be there," says the promising 25-year-old from Poitiers. "We only have one thing to think about and we will be pushing as hard as possible to win the race and hopefully the championship. Last year our car was very strong and I am confidant that we will have good pace again this year. Like Gil and everyone else in de Ferran Motorsports, I am absolutely determined to finish the season on a high."