The name of the ex-driver Gil de Ferran has sounded frequently in recent years, but not because he has returned to drive a car with his current 53 years. This outstanding pilot is one of the two creators of the new SUV competition electric, the Extreme E; in the company of the Spanish businessman Alejandro Agag.
Although he was born in France, Paris, Gil was recognized during his career with Brazilian nationality, since at four years of age he settled in the Latin American country with his father. The latter worked for about four decades in “Ford do Brasil”, being the creator of some of the most relevant designs of the North American carmaker, such as Del Rey, Fiesta and Ford Ka.
The connection between his father and cars allowed Gil to feel an attraction for speed, and he ended up graduating from Formula Ford in 1987, although since 1980 he started in the world of karting. The rest is history.
Read also: Alejandro Agag: Formula 1 and Formula E will eventually converge
De Ferran participated in British Formula 3 (1991-92) where he finished as champion, and in Formula 3000 the following year. Furthermore, in 1995 he started continuously for seven years in the CART Championship, where he won seven races.
After his retirement as a pilot, Gil has taken very important steps as a consultant; first with Honda for Formula Indy competition in 2013, and in 2018 with McLaren in Formula 1.
Gil’s “Most Painful Day”
It was in May 2019 when de Ferran went through what he considered “the most painful day of his career”, after the driver Fernando Alonso was eliminated from the Indianapolis 500 with McLaren, the team that Gil represents.
“We did not give him a car fast enough” were the words of the Brazilian born in France, which went around the world and appeared on the covers of dozens of sports media.
The beginning in the “Electric Odyssey”
It was during Gil de Ferran’s breakfast with the Spanish businessman, Alejandro Agag, which the idea of creating a competition that would narrate the effects of climate change and human activity in amazing and remote places around the world came up, through races of world class.
That dream has been embodied in what is currently known as the Extreme E, the new off-road electric SUV competition that will start in March 2021 in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, and which in its first season will have a presence in five places on four continents.
To read more bios on motorsport legends or information related to zero emission races, follow us on Instagram or Twitter as @greenracingnews.
Written by | Osward Rubio