John Fitch has wide experience in motor vehicles spanning over 50 years.
After retiring from active racing he founded John Fitch & Co., Inc., where he designed and fabricated special automobiles; Corvair "Sprint", Fitch Firebird, Toronado Phantom, Fitch Phoenix and vehicle barriers, 1960-76.
He became active in the search for an effective impact attenuator or crash cushion to arrest errant vehicles after his co-driver on the Mercedes Benz team crashed at Le Mans resulting in 85 fatalities. Mr. Fitch invented the Fitch Inertial Barrier System* and his company produced and distributed the system throughout the US and overseas.
Mr. Fitch continues his association with the industry in the development of new products. He is one of the founders of Advanced Power Systems International a company established to commercialize not only his innovations but those of others involved in advancing transportation safety and efficiency.
As a result of experience with land vehicles in racing, team management, circuit design, passenger car development, highway barrier design and consulting with universities, research organizations and auto manufacturers, he has a broad knowledge of the behavior of vehicles on racing circuits and public roads.
Military Service: 1941-1946: Theaters: Europe and Africa
Mr. Fitch has acted as consultant to organizations involved in vehicle behavior and related matters including:
Decorations: Presidential Citation, Theater Awards, Air Medals, Purple Heart, POW Medal
Rank on Discharge: Major
"The Development of Methodologies to Evalate the Effectiveness of Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standards" with The Center for the Environment and Man for U.S. Dept. of Transportation, '75.
Proposal to Conduct a Study of New Concepts for Traffic Barrier Systems, Authur D. Little, Inc. for Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Dept. of Transportation, '75.
"Vehicle Handling Test Procedures" with Highway Safety Research Institute, University of Michigan for the National Traffic Safety Administation, '69, '70.
Driver Training Simulator Capability with Donald Schuster, PH. D., Iowa State University, '67.
Auto Accident Research Planning Conference conducted by the American Psychology Assn., '67.
*Clusters of energy absorbing cylinders installed in advance of immoveable hazards on the highways. The cylinders embody an essential raised center of gravity of the sand they contain. Upon impact, their progressively increased weights through the sequence of cylinders maintain a constant rate of deceleration.
"Preliminary Investigation of Deceleration Zones and Crash Barriers". A study published by Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory, '59.
Consultant to Chevrolet, Pontiac and Oldsmobile Divisions, General Motors, '55-69'.
Mr. Fitch has presented formal papers at conferences devoted to vehicle dynamics and related subjects including:
Presentation of novel energy-absorbing perimeter barriers and a driver protection system, with references to the patents listed, to the Society of Automotive Engineers Motorsport Conferences, the International Council for Motorsport Science and other forums. It became the subject of extensive international review. 1995-2001.
"Energy Absorbing Barrier Design for Track and Highway" for the Conference of the American Association for Automotive Medicine, '80.
Qualitative Review of the Potential of Highway Research. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Transportation Program, '66.
Driver Vehicle and Color Differentiation of Directional, Brake and Marker Lights, Conference on Vehicle Design and Safety Research, West Point, '61.
His writing includes:
Wise Words. John Fitch on safety measures in motor racing. Race Car Engineering, U.K. Vol. II, No. 12, Dec, 2001.
Patents issued to Mr. Fitch on vehicle barriers include:
Encyclopedia Britannica, Series for M. L. Grisanti, '82.
Adventure on Wheels, G.P. Putnam & Sons. Autobiography, '60.
The Decline and Revival of Road Racing in the U.S., Autocourse (G.G.), '60.
Automotive related articles for Sport Illustrated, Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, True entitled Racing for Safety, Safety at Speed, Safe and Sane Driving, Racing Safety, etc., '56-62.
- Displaceable Guard Rail Barriers # 5,921,702. 1999.
Other activities of John Fitch:
- Driver Safety Capsule # 5,947515. 1999.
- Compression Guardrail # 6,010,275. 2000.
- Energy Absorbing Deceleration Barriers # 3,606,258.
- Energy Absorbing Impact Attenuating Highway Safety Systems # 3,880,404
- Highway Safety Device # 3,643,924
- Highway Safety Device # 3,856,268.
(Additional patents held on self-leveling suspension systems, thermo-syphoning stoves and other devices.)
Racing Safety Com., Inc. Chairman, (www.racesafety.com), 2001 - present
Impact Attenuation, Inc. Founder and President. Development of energy absorbing
devices for racing facilities and public roads. '94 - present
Impact Dynamics, LLC., Director. '97-99.
Roadway Safety Service Inc., Director of Product Development, '77-'97.
DeConti Industries Inc. Director, Liquid cooled brake system '91 - present
Consulier Industries, Inc., Director, High performance auto manufacture. '90 - present
Highway Safety Research Corp., Director, Producer of highway barriers, '76-'81.
Professional race driver for teams Cunningham,Corvette, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Maserati, Porsche, Jaguar, '50-'66. U.S. National Champion, '51.
Operator of Advanced Driving School, '58-'62.
Design consultant for road racing circuits in the U.S. and Canada, including Mosport, Ontario,
and St. Jovite, Quebec, Canada; Watkins Glen, N.Y. and Lime Rock, Conn. '56-'57. Director
of operations at Lime Rock racing circuit, '56-'61.
Manager Chevrolet Corvette Racing Team, '56-'57
CBS Television program, The Driving Instinct, with Jim Jensen.
CBS Interview program. Mike Wallace.
Technical Advisor, 20th Century Fox film, The Racers, '54.
Consultant listed in Society of Automotive Engineers Directory, '80 - present.
Stonex Roadside Safety Award, presented by the U. S. Transportation Research Board for
Contributions in safety related to the roadside, the vehicle and the driver, 1998.
Biography, Racing through Life, Bookmarque Publishing, 1993.
Sebring International Raceway Hall of Fame, 2002.
Corvette Hall of Fame, 2000.
- Ex-president Motor Racing Safety Society
- Founder of Road Racing Drivers Club (honorary member)
- American Association for Automotive Medicine (honorary member)
- Sports Car Club of America (former officer)
- Society of Automotive Engineers
- Vintage Sports Car Club of America, Inc.
- CIAPGP (Club International Anciens Pilotes Grand Prix) and LeMans.