Brazilian motorsports legend Gil de Ferran, winner of the Indy 500, passes away at 56

Motorsports Star Gil de Ferran Dies at Age 56

The racing community is in shock following the sudden death of Brazilian motorsports star Gil de Ferran. The news of De Ferran’s passing emerged on Friday night, prompting an outpouring of grief and reminiscing from friends and colleagues on social media.

According to reports from AP, De Ferran died while running with his son at The Concourse Club in Opa-Locka, Florida. The 56-year-old was a well-known figure in the racing world, with an illustrious career that included two IndyCar championships and an Indy 500 victory.

Friends and colleagues, including former India 500 winner Tony Kanaan, have shared their memories of De Ferran, with Kanaan recalling that De Ferran simply stopped his vehicle and said he wasn’t feeling well before his sudden passing. It is alleged that he suffered a heart attack and could not be revived.

“We are extremely saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Gil de Ferran today. Our thoughts and prayers are with Angela, Anna, Luke, and the entire De Ferran family,” said Roger Penske in a statement Friday evening. “Gil defined class as a driver and as a gentleman. As an IndyCar champion and Indianapolis 500 winner, Gil accomplished a lot during his career, both on and off the track.”

De Ferran’s career in racing began in Brazil, where he raced alongside legends like Kanaan, Helio Castroneves, and Rubens Barrichello. His successful karting career took him to Europe, where he challenged some of the biggest names of the time and eventually won the British Formula Three title in 1992.

During his time in the CART series, De Ferran set a closed-course land speed record with a qualifying speed of 241.428 mph at the California Speedway. He also enjoyed success in the iconic red and white Marlboro Penske cars, winning the 2000 and 2001 IndyCar championships, as well as the 2003 Indy 500.

In addition to his driving career, De Ferran found success as a vehicle owner in the now-defunct American Le Mans racing series, where his team, De Ferran Motorsports, drove an Acura prototype.

In the wake of his passing, tributes poured in from throughout the racing world, with McLaren CEO Zak Brown describing De Ferran as a great friend for over 20 years.

“I’ve raced with Gil all over the world and seen him win some of the biggest races,” Brown said. “He has been a great friend for over 20 years and we will miss him dearly and never forget him. My deepest condolences to his family. RIP Gil. The next victory is for you! Godspeed.”

The news of De Ferran’s death has left the racing world in mourning, and he is survived by his wife and two children.

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