10-31-2012, 11:18 AM
Worlds Foremost Authority
Location: Upper East Side Manhattan - Lime Rock CT
Join Date: Jul 2007
Mein Auto: 2015 M4 Convertible
RIP John Fitch
I am posting this in the E9x forum because I know that many of the regulars here had met John Fitch at our Lime Rock get-togethers over the years and because books and posters that he had signed were popular auction items at C2C3 and C2C4.
I was saddened to hear that one of Motorsports most beloved and respected figures, legendary driver John Fitch, passed away this morning at the age of 95. John was a true gentleman and I was honored to have known him.
This is a picture that was taken the last time I saw him which was at the Limerock Historic Festival last Labor Day Weekend. He is sitting next to Sir Stirling Moss who was his friend and at various times had been his competition, co-driver and teammate. He was obviously in failing health but he sat there for hours signing autographs,
Link to Autoweek article here.
John was an important member of the Lime Rock Community. He was involved in the design of the track 55 years ago and was the first track manager. His home was in Lime Rock very close to the track and he and his one of a kind Fitch Phoenix were familiar sights at the track.
The picture below is of John in the Fitch Phoenix at the 2008 Greenwich Concours.
John was waiting for his turn to drive at the 1955 24 hours of LeMans when Pierre Levegh, his co-driver in a factory entered Mercedes 300SLR, crashed into the crowd killing himself and 83 spetators and injuring another 120. This remains the worst accident in the history of motor racing. After this horrific incident Fitch (as everyone called him) became interested in racing and automobile safety and came up with many safety innovations. One of his inventions was the yellow plastic sand filled barrels that are used as collision barriers on public highways. So the next time you see one of them you will know that they are called Fitch Barriers and that they were invented by a man who was a pioneer in road racing and who beacme a living legend.
The picture below is of John with a Mercedes 300 SLR at Bonneville in 2005. He was attempting (at age 89) to set the land speed record for the F/GT class (2.01L to 3.0L grand touring sport)
RIP John. You were one of a kind.
Drivers Club at Lime Rock
The Glen Club (Watkins Glen International)
International Motor Racing Research Center
Cayman Club Nor'Easters
Madison Ave. Sports Car Driving and Chowder Society (Only a Vice President)
Sports Car Club of America
Polish Racing Drivers of America (PRDA)
American Mural Project
Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum
Mount Washington Observatory
Society of Automotive Historians
Last edited by captainaudio; 11-26-2012 at 06:18 PM.