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Pagenaud to drive de Ferran’s 2003 Indy 500 winner at IMS

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De Ferran, who was the 2000 and 2001 CART IndyCar champion for Penske, handed away in December on the age of 56 following a coronary heart assault throughout a driving occasion in Miami.

Pagenaud, the 2019 Indy 500 winner additionally with Penske, has been out of racing motion since his horrendous 180mph IndyCar follow crash at Mid-Ohio final July, which was brought on by a producer brake failure.

The 40-year-old Frenchman has been engaged on “getting his well being again to 100%” since then, and this would be the first time again within the cockpit to honour his good friend, who he referred to as his “Yoda” when he first got here to race in America.

Pagenaud then drove for de Ferran’s Acura sportscar crew within the American Le Mans Collection.


“Gil de Ferran has been my function mannequin, not solely as a racer but in addition as a father,” stated Pagenaud. “I obtained to be very near him, [wife] Angela, [daughter] Anna and [son] Luke by way of the years.

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“Via this tribute, I’m so blissful we’ll get to recollect Gil successful Indianapolis on this iconic Group Penske livery. The colors, the helmet, the sound, the recollections, and the truth that he taught me every part about this place.

“I keep in mind late nights and numerous hours with my Yoda speaking about all of the nice particulars to get to Victory Lane on the Speedway.

“Once I obtained the decision from Angela, Luke and Anna they usually requested me to drive Gil’s automobile, I couldn’t assist the tears as I really feel so grateful to have the prospect to remind everybody on this wonderful day of racing of the nice racer, father and man he was.”

2003 Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran, Penske-Toyota

Photograph by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Pagenaud contested the Indianapolis 500 on 12 events, successful it from pole place in 2019.

De Ferran’s 2003 G-Pressure chassis has been within the care of Penske Restoration, and Pagenaud will carry out one parade lap across the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway in reminiscence of Gil as a part of the IMS Museum’s 500 Historic Automotive Lap at 10:40am ET on race day morning.

Throughout the tribute lap, Pagenaud will put on a helmet that he designed in reminiscence of his late good friend.

Particulars of the helmet can be disclosed earlier than Sunday’s tribute by way of his social media accounts.

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