Legendary race car driver John Fitch says his friend and mentor Briggs Cunningham wanted to bring America to the forefront of road racing, and he wanted to do it in an American-designed car, built and campaigned by American engineers and mechanics, and driven by American drivers.
“That goal doesn’t seem to be so difficult looking back at the big efforts by Ford and Corvette,” says Fitch, “but Briggs did this all before the American automotive giants had much interest in the sport and he did it pretty darned good.” It was during that era when Fitch raced the big Cunninghams on a variety of circuits, from Watkins Glen to Road America to Le Mans.
“Driving for Briggs was the high point in my racing career, and for many of us, the high point in our lives,” adds Fitch, who, in 1960, raced Cunningham # 3, the first Corvette ever to win a Le Mans Class (GT 5000) race.
People don’t talk about the Cunningham racing efforts so much these days. No wonder, since there aren’t many drivers left who can do so.
At age 93, Fitch, who remains held in high-esteem in France and Europe, still makes the rounds. During the Corvettes at Carlisle event at the Fairgrounds in Carlisle, PA August 27-29, Fitch will greet fans, sign autographs, and proudly talk about the white and blue Corvette that he co-piloted to the checkered flag 50 years ago. The Cunningham #3 Corvette will also be on display and serve as Fitch’s backdrop.