Brazilian driver, winner of the Indianapolis 500, dies

Gil de Ferran, winner of the 2003 Indianapolis 500 and closed track speed record holder, died on Friday while competing with his son in The Concourse Club in Floridaconfirmed several former colleagues. She was 56 years old.

Tony Kanaan, De Ferran’s colleague and compatriot, told The Associated Press that the driver was with his son Luke at the private track in Opa-Locka, Florida. After stopping his car, De Ferran said he was not feeling well.

According to Kanaan, De Ferran apparently suffered a heart attack, from which he could not recover despite efforts to resuscitate him.

Kanaan said he was “devastated” by the loss of a driver considered an icon of motorsports in Brazil.

“He was one of my best friends. We grew up together and recently collaborated at McLaren,” Kanaan said. “At the beginning of this year, he was a mentor and helped me. I lost a very dear friend. I am devastated. I have to say he went Gil style, driving a race car. If he could choose a way to leave, he would opt for that.”

De Ferran, born in France, was rehired in May as a McLaren consultant. He had been sports director of the team’s failed effort to qualify Spaniard Fernando Alonso for the Indianapolis 500 in 2019.

In 2000 and 2001, De Ferran won Champ Car series titles, driving for Team Penske. In the 2003 Indianapolis 500 he also won the crown with Roger Penske.

He was second in the LMP1 category of the American Le Mans Series in 2009, racing for his own Motorsports team.

In 2000, on the California Speedway track, De Ferran set the closed track speed record during a CART series qualifying, with a lap at 241.428 miles (388.54 kilometers) per hour.

The brand is still valid.

De Ferran was inspired to dedicate himself to motor racing by fellow Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi. He began his career in karts, before embarking on his rise through the ranks of European motorsport.

He lost the British Formula 3 title to his countryman Rubens Barrichello and David Coulthard in 1991, but won the title the following season.

He won seven CART races and five IndyCar races. He finished second in the 2003 championship. He joined the Penske team with its iconic sponsorship of Marlboro in 2000.

He is survived by his wife Angela, daughter Ana and son Luke. Ana is a DJ at Formula 1 races around the world.

Last week, the whole family had published photos on the occasion of the Christmas holidays.