Friday Favorite: The Vauxhall Lotus double act that spawned a 30-year friendship - Motor Informed
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Friday Favorite: The Vauxhall Lotus double act that spawned a 30-year friendship

Three entrance runners emerge when Autosport asks two-time CART Indycar champion Gil de Ferran for his favorite team-mate, earlier than the 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner selects a driver he spent however one season racing alongside again in 1990.

Their careers might need gone in numerous instructions, however de Ferran and David Coulthard have been agency associates ever since they drove collectively at Paul Stewart Racing in Formulation Vauxhall Lotus, and even went on vacation collectively final yr.

De Ferran had arrived at PSR after a formidable 1989 season in Formulation Ford with the works Fulmar Reynard workforce, whereas the much less skilled Coulthard had gained the P&O Ferries FF1600 Junior title in his first season of automotive racing and earned the inaugural McLaren Autosport BRDC Award.

Aged 22 (De Ferran) and 19 (Coulthard) respectively, the pair bought alongside famously and infrequently shared lodging at races. De Ferran ended the 1990 marketing campaign second within the British championship, gained by Vincenzo Sospiri for David Sears Motorsport (Coulthard was fourth), and third within the Opel Lotus Euroseries utilizing the identical vehicles – though not like fifth-placed Coulthard (injured in a leg-breaking crash at Spa) he didn’t win a race.

“I had an incredible quantity of respect for him, we preferred one another as folks and to today we’ve got a really shut and pleasant relationship,” de Ferran says of Coulthard, who racked up 246 grand prix begins in a 15-year Formulation 1 profession that yielded 13 wins. “It’s no shock to me that David achieved what he has, an incredible quantity.

“It goes past what occurred on the racetrack in 1990. It’s as a result of to today we’re nice associates and that should imply one thing.”

Issues didn’t get off on an excellent footting nevertheless. As Coulthard recounted in his autobiography, within the first continental Opel Lotus Euroseries spherical at Zolder – which didn’t depend for factors – “I bumped into the again of him, lower his tyres and the ensuing puncture retired him from the race. In the meantime, my automotive was comparatively untouched and I went on to complete on the rostrum. I keep in mind him hanging over the pitwall giving me the wanker signal and the V’s, he was so offended. We needed to share a automotive all the best way again dwelling to Milton Keynes, and he didn’t utter a single phrase to me for your complete journey!”

Coulthard and de Ferran almost didn't hit it off as team-mates but their relationship later reconciled

Coulthard and de Ferran nearly did not hit it off as team-mates however their relationship later reconciled

Picture by: Motorsport Images

De Ferran confirms: “On the finish of the primary lap I used to be forward of him, going into the chicane he was all locked up and hit me on the left-rear tyre and we had a puncture and that was the tip of that, bent the suspension I believe as properly. Man, I used to be offended! However that anger didn’t final very lengthy.”

However De Ferran couldn’t maintain a grudge towards Coulthard as a result of “it might have been on the opposite foot, it might have simply as simply been me doing the identical factor.” Coulthard was named as a godparent to De Ferran’s daughter Anna, and was even current for the penultimate race of De Ferran’s open-wheel profession at Fontana in 2003.

That introduced down the curtain on 4 profitable years at Staff Penske – yielding the 2000 and 2001 CART Indycar titles – alongside Helio Castroneves, who was actually no pushover. He claimed two of his 4 Indy 500 wins in the identical gear as de Ferran in 2001 and 2002.

“Simon [Pagenaud], his success speaks for itself. It was a very fascinating expertise sharing a automotive with him and albeit studying from him sure issues and dealing with one another” Gil de Ferran

“I used to be on the tail finish of my profession and he was at first of his profession,” de Ferran says of his fellow Brazilian, eight years his junior. “I at all times had good relationships – the truth is, I don’t keep in mind really having a nasty relationship with my team-mates.”

Following a stint in F1 as a sporting director at Honda, De Ferran loved a two-year racing comeback together with his personal De Ferran Motorsports workforce within the 2008 American Le Mans Collection. Sharing with one other future Indy 500 winner in Simon Pagenaud, he was a winner that yr within the LMP2 division with Acura and stepped up with the model to LMP1 the next season, signing off his comeback with victory at Laguna Seca utilizing a white livery to honour his first IndyCar workforce boss Jim Corridor.

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“I’m glad I skilled sharing a automotive in sportscars – I actually loved that,” he says. “Simon, his success speaks for itself – he’s gained quite a lot of stuff since then. It was a very fascinating expertise sharing a automotive with him and albeit studying from him sure issues and dealing with one another.

“It was very fascinating to trade views concerning the automotive, concerning the driving, our strategies in sure corners and so forth.”

De Ferran also rated Pagenaud highly as a team-mate

De Ferran additionally rated Pagenaud extremely as a team-mate

Picture by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images




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