Honda Performance Development today announced that Gil de Ferran, a two-time IndyCar Series champion and winner of the 2003 Indianapolis 500, has expanded his ongoing role as a consultant to HPD into a number of new areas, ranging from improving operations, team and driver relationships to assisting with the company's motorsports strategic and business planning.
Associated with HPD and the Honda Racing program since 1996, de Ferran won his first Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) Indy car race for Honda at the 1996 Cleveland Grand Prix. He went on to score another six wins and 16 poles with Honda power, and claimed the 2000 and 2001 CART IndyCar World Series drivers' championships.
In qualifying for the 2000 CART season finale at California Speedway, de Ferran set a world closed-course speed record of 241.426 mph, a record that still stands as the fastest ever recorded at an official race meeting.
De Ferran won the 2003 Indianapolis 500, then retired from open-wheel competition at the end of that season. But he returned to racing, with HPD, in 2008 as owner/driver of an Acura ARX-01b sports car in American Le Mans Series competition, More race victories followed in 2009, while co-driving driving the new LMP1 category Acura ARX-02a with Simon Pagenaud.
In addition to his success as a driver and team owner, de Ferran also served as Sporting Director for the Honda Formula One team from 2005-07.
"To me Honda is synonymous to racing, its legacy of commitment and pursuit of excellence is legendary. For me to be able to again be involved with a company like this in a major way is hugely exciting and a great honor," said de Ferran. "Honda and HPD have been a common thread in my racing career since we first worked to develop their Indy car engines in 1996. You could say that "Honda blood runs in my veins.' Now, after two years of very targeted work as a technical consultant in specific areas, I am looking forward to taking on this more expanded role, and to having a positive impact on this company, which is very close to my heart."
As in the past, de Ferran will continue to play a key role in HPD's technical development of various HPD programs, in addition to his new responsibilities.
"We're thrilled to have Gil expand his role within the HPD organization," said Art St. Cyr, HPD president. "Gil has played an important role in the Honda Racing effort in everything from winning championships in CART to our ARX sports car program, to his role as Honda Formula One sporting director. His skills and expertise are almost impossible to duplicate, and we look forward to his continuing contributions to HPD's racing programs."
About Honda Performance Development
HPD was founded in 1993 as the performance arm of American Honda, to spearhead the company's entry into Indy car racing. No other manufacturer has matched Honda's success in Indy cars, which includes 205 race victories, 15 drivers' championships, six manufacturers' championships and nine consecutive Indianapolis 500 victories (2004-2012).
In 2013, Honda powered veteran Scott Dixon to four race wins and the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series championship; and Tristan Vautier to series Rookie of the Year honors.
HPD's prototype racing efforts have resulted in more than 60 victories and multiple American Le Mans Series championships. The company's sports-car racing debut in 2007 at the 12 Hours of Sebring marked the first win for HPD's LM-V8 engine and the first for a Honda racing engine designed and developed outside of Japan. HPD won the LMP2 title in the inaugural 2012 World Endurance Championship and has twice won the LMP2 category at the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 2010.
In 2013, HPD and Honda again swept the LMP1 and LMP2 manufacturers', engine, team and drivers' championships in the American Le Mans Series; while HPD-equipped Strakka Racing claimed the LMP1 class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for private team entries.
HPD participates in competition on both two wheels and four. The company offers a complete line of race engines for cars from grass roots to pinnacle; for professional, amateur and entry-level racers. For more information about HPD and the company's racing and Street Performance product lines, please visit http://hpd.honda.com.