Kanaan teams up with de Ferran

Indycar Racing News

As expected Gil de Ferran has hired Tony Kanaan to replace Raphael Matos as his lead driver at the de Ferran Dragon Racing IndyCar team. Kanaan lost his job with Andretti Autosports after his long-time sponsor 7-Eleven pulled out of the sport at the end of last season. IRL champion in 2004, Kanaan tested for de Ferran last month and the pair of Brazilians soon came to an agreement for the 35-year-old veteran to drive in 2011.


“There’s been a lot of speculation,” said de Ferran. “From my standpoint, Tony brings many things. We are a young and developing operation with big ambitions and Tony brings a wealth of experience. I think we can benefit tremendously from that. He’s a champion and a race winner who’s driven all sorts of cars under many situations. I’ve no doubt that not only will he will bring his speed and determination but his experience to help us short cut a lot of the development process and hopefully bring us a little closer to our dream of becoming a major force in the IZOD IndyCar series.”

Kanaan won the 1997 Indy Lights championship and then raced in CART from 1998-2002 before moving to the IRL with Andretti-Green in 2004. He spent eight years with Michael Andretti’s team, winning 14 races as well as the ‘04 title.


“Gil and I have been close friends for a while,” said Kanaan. “When I tested for him I saw what I wanted for me as far as a race team [goes], and from that point on it made it much easier for me to make my decision. I’m going to have all the attention to myself and that feels really good.”

De Ferran said he hopes to announce sponsorship for his team in January. He also said he may run a second car in some races, most probably for Davey Hamilton who drove a handful of races for de Ferran Dragon last season. De Ferran co-owns the team with Roger Penske’s youngest son Jay and Steve Luczo. Penske and Luczo started the team in 2009 and de Ferran became their partner last year after two years running his own team in the American Le Mans Series.

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