Despite confirming that his relationship with Honda Performance Development and the Acura brand is now at an end, Gil de Ferran insists that plans to take his eponymous team into the IndyCar Series remain on course.
With little in the way of detail emerging about his return to open-wheel competition, albeit as an owner rather than driver, and the announcement that former ALMS co-driver and IRL candidate Simon Pagenaud had signed with rival Highcroft Racing, the Brazilian felt compelled to quash suggestions that his programme may have stalled.
"At the time of writing, I am working very hard to secure de Ferran Motorsports' immediate future and my plans to enter the 2010 Indy Car Championship are still very much alive," he said in a brief statement, "I have continued to employ our staff until now, while working towards our 2010 goals but, as of yet, I am not in a position to announce anything further. The staff have been kept fully informed of the situation and the current status was communicated to them yesterday.
"In the meantime, I am continuing to work on the 2010 programme and will release further information when our plans are finalised."
de Ferran's final ties to the American Le Mans Series were cut with the announcement that he and Honda Performance Development has reached 'an amicable and successful conclusion' to the agreement under which de Ferran Motorsports served as the primary testing and development team for the Acura sportscar programme.
The team spent the past two seasons testing and developing the marque's ARX-01b and ARX-02a prototypes and, in 2009, played an integral role in helping it become the first manufacturer to win ALMS LMP1 and LMP2 prototype championships in the same season. Beyond its testing and developmental work, the team contributed to Acura's success by winning five of the ten ALMS LMP1 events during the 2009 season, and finished second in the LMP1 teams' championship behind Highcroft.
“Economic pressures have required us to change our plans, so we must regretfully conclude our testing and development agreement with the de Ferran Motorsports team,” explained HPD president Erik Berkman, “Since beginning competition in the fifth round of the 2008 ALMS championship, de Ferran Motorsports has contended regularly for race victories, and waged a spirited battle in pursuit of the 2009 LMP1 championship.
“We would like to express our deep gratitude to the members of the de Ferran team for the countless contributions they made to our success in sportscar racing during the past two seasons. We could never have accomplished our historic dual championships without the dedication and focus that every member of the de Ferran team brought to the programme. We thank de Ferran Motorsports for its professionalism and commitment, and wish Gil and his team every success imaginable in its motorsports future.”