The motorsports world is in mourning as Gil de Ferran, the iconic Brazilian racer and 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner, tragically passed away at the age of 56. The Associated Press confirmed that de Ferran suffered a heart attack while racing with his son, Luke, at The Concourse Club in Florida.
Fellow Brazilian driver Tony Kanaan shared the heartbreaking news, revealing that de Ferran pulled over during the race, expressing he wasn’t feeling well. Despite efforts to revive him, the racing legend could not be saved.
Gil de Ferran’s illustrious career included remarkable achievements, such as winning the 2003 Indy 500 for Roger Penske, marking Penske’s third consecutive victory in the prestigious race. Penske, in a statement, described de Ferran as a driver who defined class and a gentleman, expressing deep sadness at the loss.
Kanaan, devastated by the news, remembered de Ferran as one of his best friends, emphasizing their shared journey from childhood to working together at McLaren. The Brazilian icon’s passing was noted by the Brazilian Motorsports Confederation, acknowledging his shining moments on both Brazilian and international tracks.
McLaren Racing, where de Ferran was serving as a consultant, expressed shock and deep sadness at the loss of a beloved member of their family. CEO Zak Brown, a close friend, paid tribute to de Ferran, stating that he was a great friend for over 20 years, an unforgettable racer, and that the next win would be in his honor.
De Ferran’s impact extended beyond racing; he set the closed-course land speed record in 2000, reaching 241.428 mph. His contributions earned him the admiration of fans and fellow drivers. He retired from the cockpit in 2003, having won the 2000 and 2001 Champ Car titles and the 2003 Indy 500.
The racing legend returned to motorsports, establishing de Ferran Motorsports and later joining McLaren as a consultant. The news of his sudden passing has left the racing community in shock, and he will be deeply missed.
Gil de Ferran is survived by his wife, Angela, and their children, Anna and Luke. The Brazilian Automobile Confederation expressed condolences, praying for his eternal glory and offering support to his grieving family, friends, and millions of fans worldwide.