Former Indycar driver Willy T. Ribbs will return to racing in the Indy Lights street race at Baltimore on September 4.
The 55-year-old American, who formed his own Indy Lights team - Willy T. Ribbs Racing - with Starting Grid principal and partner Chris Miles in May, will drive his own car in the event.
"Even though I have been out of the car for 10 years, I have never 'officially' retired," said Ribbs. "Chris said he got the idea for me to race again when he heard Wally Dallenbach say during an IndyCar broadcast that he was going to drive a Lights car in Edmonton.
"For whatever reason, Wally didn't do it, but the more Chris kept talking to me, the more I got pumped up about racing again, and Baltimore is the perfect place to do it. I'm sure the consensus will be that I should not be racing against these young guns, but as Chris reminded me - when the [Sprint] Cup boys come down and race in the Trucks and Nationwide Series, no one seems to mind. So I told Chris, 'Done deal, I'm in!' "
Ribbs, who ran Chase Austin in the Firestone 100 at Indianapolis in May, was the first African-American to race in the CART-run Indycar series during the 1990s.
He raced in NASCAR in the mid-80s with limited success before switching to IndyCars with backing from Hollywood star Bill Cosby. He became the first black driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1991 and recorded a career best sixth place at Denver later the same year.
He was also the first African-American to drive a Formula 1 car when he tested a Brabham-BMW in 1986.