CHAMPCAR/CART: Gil de Ferran signs with Hall

PENNZOIL RACING SELECTS GIL DE FERRAN FOR 1995 SEASON by Robert Heathcote, for SpeedNet November 1, 1994 Gil de Ferran, 26, from Sao Paolo, Brazil, has been selected as the driver of Jim Hall's Pennzoil Special Reynard Indy car for 1995.

PENNZOIL RACING SELECTS GIL DE FERRAN FOR 1995 SEASON

by Robert Heathcote, for SpeedNet November 1, 1994

Gil de Ferran, 26, from Sao Paolo, Brazil, has been selected as the driver of Jim Hall's Pennzoil Special Reynard Indy car for 1995. The announcement was made Monday by Pennzoil Racing team-owner Jim Hall and W.E. Welcher, group vice-president products marketing for Pennzoil Products Company.

De Ferran, a French-born Brazilian, drove an Indy car for the first time this past summer when chassis manufacturer Reynard recommended Gil for a scheduled Pennzoil Racing testing assignment, that was to be cancelled because regular driver Teo Fabi was called to his home in Italy.

"He's a very talented and determine young man," said Welcher, "and we're confident there are great things in store for him on the race track."

Gil de Ferran got his first racing kart on a bet with his dad at age 14 that he would pass his high school entrance exam. Not only did he pass the test, but he did very well in school and finished third in his local junior karting championship that year, and was the junior champion of Sao Paolo the next year, 1983.

In 1984 he entered Sao Paolo University to study mechanical engineering. While schooling, he kept racing and was the Brazilian Formula Ford 1600 Champion by 1987. The next year he set off for Europe and was able to talk his way into a one-race deal driving for the Reynard factory team. He took pole and finished second, and has been associated with Reynard ever since.

Driving for Reynard and Paul Stewart Racing over the next few years, De Ferran then entered the British F3 series and won the championship in 1992 - the following year. Then came the step to F3000, and very nearly, the 1994 Championship: Arriving at the final race of the year tied for the series title, De Ferran was taken out of the championship hunt by an apologetic Fabrizio de Simone, who rear-ended De Ferran at the second corner of the race.

Now De Ferran moves up to Indy car racing with the world-famous Pennzoil Racing Indy car team. According to Pennzoil Racing's Jim Hall, Gil de Ferran and the team will conduct extensive testing between now and the first race of the year in Miami, with scheduled test dates at Big Springs, Laguna Seca Raceway, and Phoenix International Raceway.

De Ferran and wife Angela are expecting their first child anytime from Christmas through the first week of January and hope to be living soon after in the South of Florida, while maintaining homes in Surrey, England and Sao Paolo, Brazil.

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