Car Collector Dr. Fred Simeone to Lead Center’s
Tribute to Racing Legend John Fitch
(for immediate release – October 8, 2010)
WATKINS GLEN – Dr. Fred Simeone, whose passion for racing sports cars inspired him to establish the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, will be the keynote speaker at the International Motor Racing Research Center on Saturday, Dec. 4. His talk will, in part, pay tribute to legendary American racing driver John Fitch.
His talk is presented as part of the monthly series, Center Conversations. It will begin at 1 p.m. and is free and open to all. The Center is located at 610 S. Decatur St., Watkins Glen.
Simeone, a renowned neurosurgeon, has spent the past 50 years putting together a unique collection that is considered to be one of the most extensive in the world. Opened in the summer of 2008, the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum, with its diorama approach to displaying the cars and telling their stories, includes some of the rarest and most significant racing sports cars ever built.
Among the more than 60 cars are a 1950 Allard J2 and a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” that raced at Watkins Glen, a 1912 National Speed Car, a 1958 Aston Martin DBR1 and a 1970 Plymouth Superbird NASCAR car.
Simeone studied neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania and the Mayo Clinic, and taught at Harvard Medical School. He returned to Penn for decades of research and practice. Simeone is the editor of eight textbooks, including “The Spine” which is used in medical schools all over the world.
John Fitch was the Center’s 2010 Sponsorship Team campaign chairman. He has been one of the Center’s greatest supporters since the facility opened in 1999.
Fitch’s racing career has been varied, from amateur racing immediately following World War II to competing as a works driver for Mercedes in the 1950s. Fitch enjoyed great success internationally, including six appearances at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He won the Argentinean Grand Prix in 1951.
After his role as competitor, Fitch went on to serve as general manager of Lime Rock Park and was a significant figure in racing and road safety, the most well-known example being the Fitch Barriers that can be found on highways from coast to coast.
On Oct. 20, the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum, for which Simeone is executive director, is honoring Fitch with its Spirit of Competition Award. Simeone will bring his admiration for Fitch to his December appearance at the Center, recognizing Fitch and his contributions to American road racing.
Dr. Simeone’s talk will also include his views on appropriate restoration and use of vintage race cars.
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For more information: Mark Steigerwald, Center director of Archives and Administration, (607) 535-9044 or by email at ma...@racingarchives.org