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Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran passes away aged 56

The Brazilian was also Sporting Director and latterly a consultant at McLaren.

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2003 Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran has passed away aged 56.

The Brazilian, a two-time CART champion, died on December 29th after suffering a heart attack whilst at The Concourse Club in Florida, where he was racing with his son, as per The Associated Press.

Racing against the likes of Rubens Barrichello and David Coulthard in British Formula 3, de Ferran claimed back-to-back CART titles in 2000 and 2001.

In 2000, he set the closed-course land speed record in a qualifying lap at the now-demolished California Speedway. His speed of 241.428mph around the two-mile oval remains unbeaten.

After his 2003 Indy 500 success with Penske, de Ferran moved into Formula 1 management with BAR-Honda in 2005, but resigned two years later.

In mid-2018, he joined McLaren as Sporting Director after Eric Boullier left the team but left in early 2021 as part of a reshuffle.

Earlier this year, at the Miami Grand Prix, it was announced that he would return to McLaren in a consultancy role, and was present at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the end of November.

"Everyone at McLaren Racing is shocked and deeply saddened to learn we have lost a beloved member of our McLaren family," read a McLaren statement.

"We send our deepest condolences to Gil de Ferran’s family, friends and loved ones.

"Gil was an important and integral part of our Racing team. He was a formidable force on and off track and made a lasting impact on everyone racing and working alongside him.

"He will be missed by everyone at McLaren Racing."

de Ferran is survived by his Angela and children Anna and Luke.

Everyone at RacingNews365 would like to send their condolences to the friends and family of Gil de Ferran at this sad time.

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