IndyCar racing star, Lloyd Ruby, who was an instrumental figure in Ford’s GT40 works sports car line-up in the late 1960s, has died in Wichita Falls, Texas. He was 81.
Ruby was one of the most versatile American drivers of his time, and one of several oval track stars who also competed in sports car racing which was in its heyday from the 1950s through to the 1970s.
He cut his racing teeth in the time-honoured American fashion, racing dirt track Midgets as a teenager.
He raced in 18 Indianapolis 500s, from 1960 to 1977, scoring a best finish of third in 1964, and was one of the oval track racing stars of his era, racking up a solid tally of wins.
He drove in one Formula 1 race, the 1961 United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, in a privateer ex-Jim Hall Lotus. He retired on lap 76 – three-quarter race distance – with a broken magneto drive.
Ruby had competed regularly in sports car racing, his early appearances in a front-engined Maserati. When the rear-engined revolution began in the 1960s, Ruby switched to a Lotus 19.
He was a frequent race winner in the ultra-competitive US professional sports car racing scene which attracted large fields and some of the world’s greatest drivers, including Formula 1 stars like Bruce McLaren, Jim Clark, Stirling Moss and Dan Gurney, and American aces Jim Hall and Roger Penske.
Ruby was a key member of Ford’s driver line-up for its GT40 programme and won the 1966 Daytona 24 Hours in a GT40 roadster with Ken Miles. He won the Sebring 12 hours for Ford in the same year.
Ruby’s co-drivers in GT40s in long distance races included A.J. Foyt, Frank Gardner, Miles and the late Denis Hulme.