Gil de Ferran’s latest post-driving career opportunity is serving as an Official Ambassador of the new FIA Formula E Championship. De Ferran will serve as an advisor on race format and spokesperson for the series within North America.
“Electric vehicles are undoubtedly playing an increasing role in the transportation landscape worldwide and as such, electric car racing will provide the perfect platform to help accelerate the development of relevant technologies and showcase the potential in an exciting way,” he said in a series release.
Earlier this year, de Ferran made a weekend cameo as a guest driver analyst for NBC Sports Network’s coverage of Indianapolis 500 qualifying. He also spent some time reflecting with MotorSportsTalk’s Chris Estrada (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 linked here) on the 10-year anniversary of his 2003 Indianapolis 500 victory.
His insights will no doubt be valuable for the championship as it gets off the ground. The highest profile name to commit to the championship is IndyCar defending champion team, Andretti Autosport.
Still, it says something about how racing has evolved over the last dozen or so years that de Ferran, who holds the all-time closed-course world speed record of 241.428 mph in a Penske-prepared Reynard-Honda pushing 1,000 horsepower at California Speedway in 2000 is now helping out electric cars that sound more like radio-controlled cars at first listen. It’s something of a shock, actually, to hear the variation.
And now, here is the inevitable comparison between the sound of his record-setter in 2000 and an FIA Formula E demonstration run earlier this year around the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
De Ferran’s record setting lap at California Speedway
The new Formula E cars on the streets of Los Angeles