Sports car racing driver, team manager and safety engineer John Fitch has been inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame, along with seven others.
Fitch was the first SCCA national champion, in 1951, and won the Argentine Grand Prix in the same year. In the 1952 Mexican Road Race, he drove the prototype 300SL roadster for Mercedes. As a former P-51 fighter pilot in WWII, Fitch quipped: “In 1945 I was shooting at the Germans and seven years later I was driving their racing cars.” In 1953, he won the 12 Hours of Sebring with co-driver Phil Walters. They beat the Aston Martin factory team with a single Cunningham C4-R. Fitch was one of the few Americans to compete in Europe and the only American to drive for the Mercedes-Benz team, which won world championships in Formula One, sports racing and GT classes in 1955.
Among his many racing achievements, Fitch was a driver for Briggs Cunningham from 1951 to 1966, piloting many of the great cars that team fielded, including the Cunningham C-4R, the D-Jaguars, the Lister Jaguars and Porsche 904s. Additionally, as a team manager at Sebring, he took the early Corvettes that initially could not complete a lap around the course, and refined them into true racing sports cars.
Other 2007 Motorsports Hall of Fame inductees were Goodyear racing manager Leo Mehl, Indy-car mechanic Jim McGee, 1960 Indy winner Jim Rathman, dirt-track motorcycle hero Bubba Shobert, NASCAR champion Bill Elliott and the Pro-Stock drag racing team of Sox and Martin.