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IMSA and the 935

After winning almost everything and taking the IMSA title with Dick Barbour’s outfit, Fitzpatrick had to run his own team in ’81. Photo: Geoffrey Hewitt

Prior to 1980, I had raced in the United States on a few occasions—I’d done Daytona two or three times with Porsche and I’d been to Watkins Glen. I won at The Glen in ’78 with a 935, but I hadn’t done many races. Just two or three a year. Ironically, I was down at Bathurst in Australia toward the end of ’79 and Dick Barbour was there. Dick finished 2nd at Le Mans that year and had big plans for the following year.

John FitzpatrickPhoto: Mike Jiggle
John Fitzpatrick
Photo: Mike Jiggle

In Australia we’d got to chatting, we went out and ate and that sort of thing, and he asked me what I was doing. He asked if I would like to go to the United States and drive IMSA full time. I grabbed the chance immediately because I really enjoyed racing in the States. The Porsche fans in the States were even keener than the Porsche fans in Europe, and it was just a great place to be. And of course, there were a lot of new circuits for me, as well. Quite a lot of the smaller tracks, and the big ones I hadn’t done before, so that was interesting. So I actually moved with my family at the beginning of 1980 to San Diego and drove for Barbour. And, of course, we had a fantastic year, I mean we won virtually everything. It was really incredible.

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