Friday, June 9, 2017

John Fitzpatrick Born In Birmingham, England - June 9, 1943

June 9, 1943
John Fitzpatrick
Born in Birmingham, England.
He was one of the best Porsche drivers of his era. He began his career driving Touring cars in the BSCC and ETCC, winning the British Saloon Car Championship in 1966. First it was Minis, then Ford Anglias and Escorts; BMW CSs and then Porsche 911s. He then became renowned for his expertise at driving the German machines. He was crowned European GT Champion in 1972, and then again in 1974. He moved to the United States in 1980, driving for Dick Barbour Racing, and capturing the IMSA Camel GT Championship in the process. In 1981, he moved from driver to team owner-driver, with some success.

Thanks to a high level of sponsorship from J. David, Fitzpatrick was able to purchase two Porsche 956s to run in the World Endurance Championship series and did in fact become the privateer to field a multi-car team of 956s. JFR was also the first use a 956 in the USA. Although the car was not permitted to race in IMSA events, Can-Am regulations did permit them to run, provided they complied with full Group C and Can-Am rules. Although this rendered them less than fully competitive, the team’s 956 won at Elkhart Lake, on its first American outing. Whilst in the USA, JFR had the opportunity of doing some unseen development work. When the 956 was returned to Europe, to race in the Grand Prix International 1000km, at Brands Hatch, it featured many enhances not seen on the works cars. The soaking Kent track let JFR try out their aerodynamic tweaks and Fitzpatrick and partner for this race, Derek Warwick became only the second team to beat the works team.

In 1986 he retired from Motor Sport, and he sold his entire team, including racing cars, transporters and all equipment. He still works within motorsport as a consultant doing corporate events and driver management. He still participates in historic races.
(Photo;trackthoughts.com)

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