John Fitch

Race car driver, Military Person

1917 – 2012

55

Who was John Fitch?

John Cooper Fitch was a United States racecar driver and inventor. He was the first American to race automobiles successfully in Europe in the postwar era.

In the course of a driving career which spanned 18 years, Fitch won such notable sports car races as the 1951 Argentine Grand Prix, 1955 Mille Miglia, RAC Tourist Trophy, and 12 Hours of Sebring as well as numerous lesser races. He also competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans six times, finishing as high as third. Fitch also served as the first manager for Chevrolet's Corvette racing team, and the first general manager of the Lime Rock Park race track, where he organized a famous Formula Libre race in 1959, where Rodger Ward shocked the expensive and exotic sports cars by beating them on the road course in an Offenhauser powered midget car, normally considered competitive for oval tracks only.

In addition, Fitch emulated his ancestor, John Fitch, one of the inventors of the steamship, by inventing many safety innovations for the race track and the highway, as well as designing and building high performance cars, including modifying Corvairs for resale.

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Born
Aug 4, 1917
Indianapolis
Also known as
  • John Cooper Fitch
Spouses
Children
Nationality
  • United States of America
Profession
Education
  • Lehigh University
Died
Oct 31, 2012
Lime Rock

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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