November 1, 2012
Many of us who used to track at Lime Rock had run into John Fitch at one point or another .
Fitch, who passed away this week at 95, was a driver for Briggs-Cunningham, Mercedes and Corvette in the 1950s where he was Corvette's first racing manager. He raced the Carrera Panamericana, the Mille Miglia, the Tourist Trophy. He was at Le Mans in 1955, he went for a world record at the Boneville flats in a Gullwing at age 89.
Aside from having been a P51 Pilot in WWII, he contributed to the design of tracks at Watkins Glen, Mosport, and Lime Rock.
He was pioneer for safety on and off the track, Among his many inventions was an early version of the now ubiquitous HANS device and, later, the "Fitch Barrier", those yellow barrels filled with sand you see protecting sharp ends of exit ramps on highways or pit entrance walls on race tracks.
Give a little salute next time you pass one!
More remembrances after the jump.