John Cooper Fitch was born in 1917 in Indianapolis,
Indiana. He was one of the first Americans to race Europe in the after the
war. John's stepfather was on the board of the of Stutz, which introduced him
to cars and racing at an early age, he would build cars from junk and drive
them. John came to England in 1939 and watched the last race at Brooklands
before the outbreak of World War II. In 1941 he volunteered for the US Army
Air Corps which took him to North Africa, where he flew the A-20 Havoc and
then on to England. By 1944, Captain Fitch was a P-51 Mustang pilot and is
credited with shooting down a Messerschmitt Me 262 jet. Two months before
the end of the war, he was shot down himself.
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 (and drove in) a 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.
Fitch was heavily influenced by the 1955 Le Mans tragedy where he was co driver to Pierre Levegh and crusaded for increased safety on racetracks and highways, joining with medical experts such as Steve Olvey and Terry Trammel. He has served as consultant to numerous research and governmental organizations on the subject of vehicle handling and dynamics, as they relate to safety. He also served as technical consultant for the film The Racers and design consultant for many racetracks, including Mosport, St. Jovite, Quebec, and Watkins Glen International, as well as Lime Rock Park.
John Fitch died in October 2012