John Fitch, legendary racer and safety advocate, dies

John Fitch

John Fitch, a legendary racer and safety advocate, died Oct. 31, 2012 (Sports Car Club of America photo)


John Cooper Fitch, a legendary racer and a pioneer in automotive safety, died of cancer Oct. 31 at his home in Connecticut at the age of 95.

Fitch was recognized for his on-track performances during an 18-year racing career that saw him score wins in races such as the 1951 Argentine Grand Prix, the 1955 Mille Miglia (production car class) and the Dunrod Tourist Trophy and Sebring endurance race. He is also known for his contributions to highway safety. An engineering graduate of Lehigh University, he developed the portable impact-absorbing barriers used on race tracks and highways.

He advocated for increased safety on racetracks and was a consultant to numerous research and governmental organizations on the subject of vehicle handling and dynamics.
Fitch served as the first manager for Chevrolet’s Corvette racing team, and the first general manager of the Lime Rock Park race track.

Fitch received numerous awards, including induction into the Corvette, SCCA (inaugural class), Sebring, New England Racer, and Motorsports of America Halls of Fame. In June 2012, he was inducted into the Bloomington Gold Great Hall.
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