Pagenaud to make IMS return driving de Ferran’s 2003 Indy winner

Simon Pagenaud hasn’t been in a race car since the brake failure and heavy crash that ensued last year at Mid-Ohio, but he’ll make a tearful return to the cockpit on Sunday when he drives his mentor Gil de Ferran’s 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner in honor of the late Brazilian during pre-race ceremonies.

“Gil de Ferran has been my role model, not only as a racer but also as a father,” Pagenaud said. “I got to be very close to him, (his wife) Angela, (kids) Anna and Luke through the years. Through this tribute I am so happy we will get to remember Gil winning Indianapolis in this iconic Team Penske livery. The colors, the helmet, the sound, the memories, and the fact that he taught me everything about this place. I remember late nights and countless hours with my Yoda talking about all the fine details to get to victory lane at the Speedway.”

Pagenaud will climb into the newly restored Team Penske GForce-Toyota and sport a new tribute helmet that celebrates his hero, who died in late December.


“When I got the call from Angela, Luke and Anna and they asked me to drive Gil’s car, I could not help the tears as I feel so thankful to have the chance to remind everyone on this amazing day of racing of the great racer, father and man he was,” he said.

Story originally appeared on Racer