Honda Performance Development has announced that it is ending its partnership with de Ferran Motorsports.
Gil de Ferran's team had led HPD's Acura prototype program in the American Le Mans Series since its formation in early 2008, but champion outfit Highcroft Racing has taken over as the main Acura development squad for 2010.
De Ferran, who has now retired from driving for a second time, had hoped to continue running his sports car team and expand into the IndyCar Series next year. However, he has had difficulty securing sufficient funding, although he insisted last week that he was determined to keep de Ferran Motorsports in business and was focusing on an IndyCar entry. Recent rumors have suggested de Ferran and Tony George's Vision Racing are working to put a cooperative venture together.
HPD president Erik Berkman explained that the financial situation had caused the de Ferran/Acura relationship to end. "Economic pressures have required us to change our plans, so we must regretfully conclude our testing and development agreement with the de Ferran Motorsports team," he said.
"We would like to express our deep gratitude to the members of the de Ferran team for the countless contributions they made to our success in sports car racing during the past two seasons. We could never have accomplished our historic dual championships without the dedication and focus that every member of the de Ferran team brought to the program.
"We thank de Ferran Motorsports for its professionalism and commitment, and wish Gil and his team every success imaginable in its motorsports future."
De Ferran thanked HPD for its support in the creation of his team.
"I have a long standing and successful relationship with Honda, spanning over a decade in different guises," said the Brazilian, who used Honda power for most of his Champ Car career, including his 2000 and 2001 titles, and also managed the company's Formula 1 team for a period in the mid-2000s.
"I was delighted that we were able to serve Honda's needs during the 2008 and 2009 Acura sports car campaigns and it is unfortunate that our relationship could not continue under the current economic restrictions. Nevertheless, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Honda for its support and its part in making de Ferran Motorsports a reality and a successful team."
De Ferran and co-driver Simon Pagenaud won five races in the ALMS this year but finished second in the standings behind Highcroft Acura's David Brabham and Scott Sharp.