Willy T is back!

There was a time in 1985 when Bernie Ecclestone was rather keen on an African-American called Willy T Ribbs. He was so keen in fact that he gave Willy T a test run in one of his Brabham Formula 1 cars at Estoril in Portugal.

Now 56 years of age, Willy T has announced that he will be back in single seater racing in September, at the wheel of an Indy Lights car. It has been 10 years since he was last seen racing and 20 since he became the first African-American to start the Indianapolis 500

For the moment Willy T is planning only a one-off event as a way to increase publicity for the team that he co-owns with Chris Miles. They have been trying to tap into the minority demographic with sponsors and in Baltimore there is a large African-American population.

Ribbs says that he is not that old and points out that AJ Foyt was still racing IndyCars at 59.

It all makes 42-year-old Michael Schumacher seem like a spring chicken…

9 thoughts on “Willy T is back!

  1. Hi Joe,

    Looking forward to the Indy car Baltimore race on Labour Day weekend. Great for Willy T to get out there at that age and have a go. Also extremely pleased that the large african american community in Baltimore will be exposed to something very positive as they could do with it.
    I can’t wait to see the cars racing around the streets! I hope it is a success as they have been doing some great promotion work from a very early stage and putting in a lot of effort.

  2. It’ll be great to see Willy T back in the car, but he has a bit of work to do to get back into shape for it.
    Best of luck to him anyway, although I do wonder if he has any plans to get seat time for his young charger, Chase Austin?

  3. F1 cars today are a lot easier to drive than during the eighties.
    Back then it was a manual gearbox, double de-clutch, no power steering, 1,200bhp, etc…
    Today, it’s like driving your grandads jag to the shops on a sunday.
    Mind you, they still need balls of iron to travel at 200mph!

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