By: Spencer Neff
May 23, 2021
On Sunday morning, former INDYCAR driver Andre Ribeiro passed away at age 55 following a battle with colorectal cancer.
Like many drivers over the past few decades, Ribeiro got his racing started in karting, winning the Brazilian national title each year from 1986 to 1988.
After stints in Formula Opel and Formula Ford, the São Paulo native moved to Indy Lights with Tasman Motorsports for 1994. With an Indy 500- and championship- winning pedigree from Car Owner Steve Horne, the team saw great success.
In 12 races, he earned four victories and four pole positions, finishing nine points behind champion Steve Robertson in second.
For 1995, Ribeiro and the Tasman Motorsports team moved to IndyCar. At the Indianapolis 500, he qualified 12th and finished 18th, his lone appearance in the race.
In the season’s 15th race, Ribeiro won the pole position and led 96 laps to win the race. It would be the first win for the team and engine supplier Honda and Firestone’s second win in their return as a tire supplier.
For 1996, Ribeiro and Tasman’s success continued. At the second race of the season, CART made their debut in his native Brazil at Jacarepaguá Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet.
Ribeiro started third and led 19 laps, including the final 18 en route to a popular victory in front of his home crowd.
Later that year, he returned to the site of his first IndyCar laps led, Michigan International Speedway. In his prior two starts, he had led 101 laps but finished no better than fourth in May 1996’s U.S. 500.
In July, the No. 31 Lola-Honda dominated the Marlboro 500, leading a race-high 114 of 250 to win for the second time in 1996 and his third career victory. Two weeks earlier, he won his second and final career pole on the Toronto street circuit.
Ribeiro and Tasman earned a best finish of third place at Toronto in 1997 before the driver moved on to Penske Racing.
Despite qualifying second in his team debut at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the pairing were unable to find the podium during their lone season together. Their best finish was seventh at the Vancouver street circuit.
Following the season, Ribeiro moved back to Brazil and worked with Penske for United Auto, owning car dealerships in São Paulo.
IndyCar1909 thanks Andre Ribeiro for his contributions to the series and we offer condolences to his family and friends.
Header Image By INDYCAR/IMS