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Auto Racing Legend, Former Indy 500 Winner, Dies at 56

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Auto racing legend Gil de Ferran has tragically passed away at the age of 56.

According to the Associated Press, de Ferran was driving with his son, Luke, at a private motor racing club in Opa-Locka, Florida, when he stopped the vehicle to say he was feeling unwell.

He was taken to hospital but was eventually pronounced dead. It has since emerged that he suffered from a cardiac arrest.

Although he never competed in Formula 1, the French-born Brazilian had a successful career in the IndyCar/Cart series from 1995 to 2003, winning a series of titles including the Indy 500 for Penske Racing in 2003.

After retiring from the sport, he built a successful career in Formula 1 working as the sporting director for the BAR/Honda and McLaren teams.

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Another of his achievements included holding the closed-course land speed record, clocking in one lap at a staggering 241.42 miles per hour.

Tributes have since poured in for the Brazilian, including from McClaren and Roger Penske, owner of the Penske Automotive Group for which de Ferran competed.

“Everyone at McLaren Racing is shocked and deeply saddened to learn we have lost a beloved member of our McLaren family,” McClaren wrote on the X platform.

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

Penske added he “defined class as a driver and as a gentleman.”

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“We are terribly saddened to hear about today’s tragic passing of Gil de Ferran,” Lenske said in a statement.

“As an IndyCar Champion and an Indianapolis 500 winner, Gil accomplished so much during his career, both on and off the track,” he added. “Gil’s passing is a terrible loss and he will be deeply missed.

Other tributes similarly poured in on social media:

De Ferran is survived by his wife, daughter and son.


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