de Ferran Motorsports founder Gil de Ferran today announced a major new recruit to his ambitious organization: Robert Clarke the recently retired Honda Performance Development President.
The appointment of Clarke as CEO is a very significant step for the new team, which made its competition debut less than a year ago. Clarke has an impressive track record of success and has the proven talents and experience to mastermind the company's future.
"I am really excited to be adding Robert's name to the de Ferran Motorsports' roster as our new CEO," said Team Principal Gil de Ferran. "I know and have worked with Robert in different capacities since 1996 and I believe we have employed one of the best and most experienced executives in this industry. Robert was in charge of Honda's American motorsport program from the mid-90s until the beginning of 2008 and oversaw some really glorious years in Honda's motorsport history.
"He is a unique talent, well versed in dealing with governing bodies, major manufacturers, teams and sponsors at the very highest level and I believe his appointment will play a key role in elevating our team to another level of professionalism."
de Ferran, himself a two-time CART Champion and Indianapolis 500 winner, debuted his team in May 2008, entering an Acura ARX-01b in the LMP2 class of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). Despite its rookie status, the team recorded top ten finishes in all eight races in 2008 - including three podium results - and is now preparing to contest the full 2009 ALMS schedule in the ALMS premier LMP1 class with ACURA's all new and innovative ARX-02a. Originally one of the driving forces behind ACURA's developing ALMS project in his previous role as HPD President, Robert Clarke is delighted to be back working with his good friend.
"Gil and I had a great working relationship when he was our development driver during Honda's CART racing program and I am really looking forward to partnering with Gil and becoming involved in this project," enthused Clarke. "Gil has been struggling to cope with all the demands that come with running a business, plus those of being a primary driver and assisting with the development of the new ARX-02a. I believe I can help Gil and the team by removing a portion of the workload while bringing more than 27 years of Honda corporate experience. We have been communicating closely over the past year and I am hugely impressed with what he has achieved to date. I am really looking forward to working with de Ferran Motorsports and helping the team advance to the next level."
Robert Clarke officially took up his role on February 1st and will be on hand to oversee the first big challenge of the year - the race debut of the No 66 XM Radio de Ferran Acura ARX-02a at the first round of the 2009 American Le Mans Series, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring (March 21st).
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