Friday favorite: The underrated Briton who turned a Stateside star - Motor Informed

Friday favorite: The underrated Briton who turned a Stateside star

John Fitzpatrick is without doubt one of the unsung heroes of touring automobile and sportscar racing, with a British Touring Automotive title, European GT and IMSA crowns, and wins at Daytona, Sebring and Bathurst to his title, to not point out a profitable racing staff. So it’s applicable that he picks one other underrated Briton as his greatest team-mate: David Hobbs.

Hobbs began six world championship grands prix, contested the Indianapolis and Daytona 500s, scored class wins at Le Mans, and took titles in Method 5000 and Trans-Am. When Fitzpatrick arrange his eponymous staff in 1981, Hobbs was close to the highest of his listing.

“I had quite a lot of terrific co-drivers, like Derek Bell, however the one which stands out is David,” explains Fitzpatrick.

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“To begin with, he was nice firm within the staff, easy-going. After I determined to run my very own staff, I knew him – and I had it in thoughts to have him drive with me.

“The staff beloved him and we favored the identical kind of set-up. He’d exit after I’d been within the automobile and wouldn’t wish to change a factor.

“Secondly, David was additionally a really quick driver. There was nothing between us and he’d executed numerous endurance racing so he knew easy methods to take care of the automobile.

“The non-public issue is extra necessary than pure velocity and we weren’t attempting to outdo one another. Generally co-drivers could be extra obsessive about being faster than they’re with ending the race, which isn’t what you want.”

John Fitzpatrick picks David Hobbs as his best team-mate in terms of pure speed and teamwork

John Fitzpatrick picks David Hobbs as his greatest team-mate when it comes to pure velocity and teamwork

Photograph by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch / Motorsport Images

One of the memorable races for the duo was the 1982 Le Mans 24 Hours. Driving one of many modified John Fitzpatrick Racing Porsche 935s they received the IMSA GTX class and had been solely crushed by Porsche’s new Group C wondercar, the 956.

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“That race stands out,” says Fitzpatrick. “We completed fourth within the particular Porsche 935 ‘Moby Dick’ copy, behind the three works 956s. That was actually satisfying.

“David is unsung over right here. He is much better recognized within the States, the place he’s been a TV persona for years, than he’s in Europe. He did much more over there.”

“The non-public issue is extra necessary than pure velocity and we weren’t attempting to outdo one another” John Fitzpatrick

One different driver will get a point out from Fitzpatrick: “When David couldn’t drive on the 1983 Manufacturers Hatch 1000Km as a result of he was doing Trans-Am – he received the title – I requested Derek Warwick. He’d executed Spa for an additional staff [Kremer] and executed very effectively.

“He was good and had no ego. He was terrific to drive with and was extremely quick, notably at the beginning within the rain.”

Fitzpatrick and Hobbs won the IMSA GTX class at the 1982 Le Mans 24 Hours together, only beaten by a trio of Porsche 956s

Fitzpatrick and Hobbs received the IMSA GTX class on the 1982 Le Mans 24 Hours collectively, solely crushed by a trio of Porsche 956s

Photograph by: Motorsport Images



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