Brazilian motorsport is in mourning. At 55, André Ribeiro died due to health problems. The information was confirmed by Group1, the company the former pilot worked for.
Brazilian motorsport is in mourning this Sunday (23). André Ribeiro da Cunha Pereira died at 55, due to bowel cancer. The Brazilian passed through Indy between 1995 and 1998, with three victories in the period.
The information was confirmed by Group1 Automotive, the company in which the former driver worked as Director of Relationship and Business Development.
“We communicated with regret the death, on May 22, of André Ribeiro da Cunha Pereira, our director of the relationship and business development area with the automakers. As a result of sanitary restrictions, the wake and André’s funeral were restricted to family members. We deeply regret this loss and wish God to comfort the family, ”said the statement from Group 1 Automotive.
Ribeiro had a stint at Indy as a major highlight in his career. Between 1995 and 1998, he ran for Tasman and Penske, winning three victories. The main achievement was at Rio 400 in 1996, the first race of the category on Brazilian soil, in Rio de Janeiro. He also won the New England 200 in 1995 in New Hampshire and the Michigan 500 in 1996.
After a bad season with Penske in 1998, he left the tracks at the age of 31. But he did not abandon his passion for cars and joined businessman Roger Penske to run three car dealerships in São Paulo, his hometown. In 2002, he also teamed up with colleague Pedro Paulo Diniz to promote the Formula Renault and Copa Renault Clio categories in Brazil.
André’s career started in karting in 1986, at the age of 19, with the right to consecutive victories in the Duas Horas de Interlagos and vices in the Campeonato Paulista. He also went through the Brazilian Ford Formula in 1989 and then went to Europe, where he raced in Formula Opel and Formula 3.
In 1994, he went to the United States and competed at Indy Lights. There, he had a fierce dispute with Briton Steve Robertson and closed as runner-up, just 9 points behind his rival, even surpassing big names on the grid, such as Greg Moore and Patrick Carpentier.
At Indy, he made his debut in 1995 with the modest Tasman team, where he achieved victory in New Hampshire at the end of the season and was 17th in the championship. In 1996 he had his best year, with two victories and several expressive results, closing the dispute in 11th. The last year in the team, 1997, had problems with the Lola chassis, until the change in the middle of the season for Reynard, when he reacted and closed in 14th.
In the last year of Indy, in 1998, he ran for Penske. Despite being on the biggest team on the grid, he suffered from the team’s many problems and scored just 13 points, closing at 22nd. At the end of the year, he stopped racing.