Robert Clarke, the recently retired president of Honda Performance Development, has been appointed as CEO of the de Ferran Motorsports American Le Mans Series team.
Clarke has a long-standing relationship with team boss Gil de Ferran having been a driving force in the decision to take the Acura brand into the ALMS. Before that, the pair also worked together while de Ferran was working as a development driver for Honda's single-seater progamme in the United States.
"Gil and I had a great working relationship when he was our development driver during Honda's CART racing programme and I am really looking forward to partnering with Gil and becoming involved in this project," Clarke said. "Gil has been struggling to cope with all the demands that come with running a business, plus those of being a primary driver and assisting with the development of the new ARX-02a.
“I believe I can help Gil and the team by removing a portion of the workload while bringing more than 27 years of Honda corporate experience. We have been communicating closely over the past year and I am hugely impressed with what he has achieved to date. I am really looking forward to working with de Ferran Motorsports and helping the team advance to the next level."
Clarke has an impressive track record of success and de Ferran said he had the proven talents and experience to mastermind the company's future.
"I am really excited to be adding Robert's name to the de Ferran Motorsports' roster as our new CEO," he said. "I know and have worked with Robert in different capacities since 1996 and I believe we have employed one of the best and most experienced executives in this industry. Robert was in charge of Honda's American motorsport program from the mid-90s until the beginning of 2008 and oversaw some really glorious years in Honda's motorsport history.
"He is a unique talent, well versed in dealing with governing bodies, major manufacturers, teams and sponsors at the very highest level and I believe his appointment will play a key role in elevating our team to another level of professionalism."
Clarke officially took up his new role on 1 February.