The NTT IndyCar Series and tire partner Firestone have signed on to support production of a new film project titled ‘Eraced,’ which will tell the story of African American open-wheel pioneer Charlie Wiggins.
“The incredible and inspiring true story of Charles “Charlie” Wiggins, the greatest African American race car driver of the 1920s and 1930s, is being developed into a feature film by Ed Welburn and Madisun Leigh via their Welburn Media Productions banner,” the series said.
“The film has attracted first-of-its-kind brand collaboration during development from blue chip partners including IndyCar and Firestone. IndyCar has pledged support for physical production, marketing and promotional opportunities during production, and additional marketing resources, including media, at time of release. Firestone will be a production partner for the film.”
IndyCar fans and historians might know Wiggins’ story from the exemplary book and subsequent PBS documentary ‘For Gold and Glory: Charlie Wiggins and the African American Racing Car Circuit’ by Todd Gould.
“Watching the documentary about Charlie, I was excited and at the same time deeply saddened that such an amazing piece of African American history, of American history, of car history, could be completely unknown to me, my enthusiast friends, and most auto racing experts,” said Welburn, the former General Motors VP of global design. “I decided that I had to bring Charlie’s story to life.”
Welburn’s production partner Leigh added: “It’s yet another missing piece of the puzzle that is the contribution of African American ingenuity and genius to our country’s rich history. Charlie was a humble yet daring man who, despite the stifling impediment of Jim Crow laws and unimaginable personal tragedy, rose again and again to meet those challenges and obstacles.”
Production on ‘Eraced’ is due to start in 2022.
“When approached to participate in this independently produced feature film, INDYCAR did not hesitate, as this is an important story that needs to be told,” said IMS and IndyCar senior council and chief diversity officer Jimmie McMillian. “Charlie was a great race car driver and inspirational person whose racing career was sadly impacted by the bigotry and prejudice of the world around him. We’re looking forward to shedding light on Charlie and Roberta’s extraordinary achievements and take pride in ensuring that this true tale of remarkable racing achievements comes to life.”