Gil de Ferran has revealed that he will retire from racing for the second time at the end of the current American Le Mans Series season to focus on his role as president of the team that carries his name.
The Brazilian, who retired from IndyCar competition back in 2003, returned to active competition last season after forming his own de Ferran Motorsports team to run in the LMP2 class of the ALMS as a factory Acura team.
The team then moved into LMP1 this season and arrives at Mid-Ohio this weekend as the form team following three successive victories.
de Ferran secured pole for the event before then announcing that he will stand down from his driving role at the end of the campaign to focus his attention fully on his team – with the aim being to run two-car teams in both the ALMS and the IndyCar Series from 2010.
“Ideally, in a perfect world, I would like to run two sports cars in the American Le Mans Series and two cars in the IndyCar Series,” he said. “That is my dream, and part of the reason I am retiring from driving is to pursue this dream. My background is mostly in Indy car, it's a sport I understand well and I know a lot of the personnel. I'm confident we can attract additional talented personnel to make this team work well, which is the key to our success.
“Throughout my career, I've always been driven by new challenges. While I've enjoyed my time behind the wheel of the #66 XM Radio DFM Acura ARX-02a, my main focus moving forward is to continue to build our Team into a world class motorsports organisation.
“I feel that by returning to the cockpit for the past year, I have been competitive and added value to our team as a driver. Overall, I also feel we succeeded in developing this programme to a point where I can now step down and dedicate 100 per cent of my time to expanding our team.”
de Ferran will now hope for a strong end to his ALMS career through the remainder of the season and said he was keen to bring the curtain down on his time as a driver in a similar way to when he quit IndyCar competition – taking a victory at Texas in his final race.
“I'm looking forward to competing in the final races of the 2009 ALMS season as I think we have a very strong shot at the championship,” he said. “It would be great to end my sports car driving career with a win at Laguna Seca and a Championship for Acura and DFM, much the same way I ended my Indy car career.”