Gil de Ferran has confessed that his visit to this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed earlier this month was 'right up his alley' – Gasoline Alley, to be precise – as he took a trip back in time and hooked up again with a very special old friend.
de Ferran was present at Goodwood – described as motor racing's greatest summer garden party – to help celebrate the centenary of arguably the most famous race in the world, the legendary Indianapolis 500. It was, he reflected, a very special occasion indeed.
“I enjoyed it tremendously,” the Brazilian told Crash.net
. “I always like coming here. I love racing, I love cars and to me, this is not only a big celebration of motorsport but of the automobile – it's right up my alley!
“This year, too, for me there was something particularly special, which was that I got to drive my own car – the car in which I won the Indy 500 in 2003. Since I stepped out of that car, I had never stepped back in it again until now. It was quite emotional, I have to say.”
Admitting to treating the venerable Marlboro Team Penske Panoz G Force/Toyota with the respect it deserves and driving it 'slowly' up Goodwood's famous hill, de Ferran reasoned that 'the car really wasn't set-up for this kind of thing' before quipping, 'it doesn't even drive straight!' Regardless of the speed, though, that it brought back memories for the 43-year-old was indisputable.
“Indy is the biggest spectator sport in the whole world,” he enthused, his eyes lighting up at the mere mention of the hallowed name. “This race has been going on for 100 years, and as a sportsman, it's one of the biggest titles you can attain. The fact that I was fortunate enough to be able to do that once is a title I carry with a lot of pride – a real career highlight.”