John Bishop – Sports Car Racing Legend – to be Posthumously inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame

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The family is asking that donations in Bishop’s honor be made to the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, N.Y.

John Bishop, who died last week at 87, will be posthumously inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in August. He was named to the SCCA Hall of Fame in 2011. Bishop co-founded IMSA in 1969 with his wife Peggy and Bill France Sr., after an unexpected telephone “cold call” from France – also NASCAR’s founder – that resulted in a quick trip from Connecticut to Daytona Beach to discuss assembling a new sports car sanctioning organization in North America.

Bishop co-founded IMSA in 1969 with his wife Peggy and Bill France Sr., after a surprise telephone “cold call” from France – also NASCAR’s founder – that resulted in a quick trip from Connecticut to Daytona Beach to discuss assembling a new sports car sanctioning organization in North America.

– See more at: http://www.imsa.com/articles/imsa-co-founder-john-bishop-passes-away-age-87#sthash.50Ue0Z1K.dpuf

Bishop co-founded IMSA in 1969 with his wife Peggy and Bill France Sr., after a surprise telephone “cold call” from France – also NASCAR’s founder – that resulted in a quick trip from Connecticut to Daytona Beach to discuss assembling a new sports car sanctioning organization in North America.

– See more at: http://www.imsa.com/articles/imsa-co-founder-john-bishop-passes-away-age-87#sthash.50Ue0Z1K.dpuf

Bishop co-founded IMSA in 1969 with his wife Peggy and Bill France Sr., after a surprise telephone “cold call” from France – also NASCAR’s founder – that resulted in a quick trip from Connecticut to Daytona Beach to discuss assembling a new sports car sanctioning organization in North America.

While with SCCA, Bishop is credited with creating the U.S. Road Racing Championship series, followed by the Can-Am, Trans-Am and Formula 5000 race series. Under IMSA’s sanctioning, Bishop introduced international endurance racing to North America in the GT series.

“Bill said he thought there was a need for a new organization, and that he thought I might be the person to run it,” Bishop said recently. “So, very quickly, I got down to Daytona. Bill and I met; we talked a lot, drank a lot of Scotch, talked a lot more and planned it out. Peggy and I didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into.”

With France’s financial assistance, the Bishops built IMSA into a sports car organization that, arguably, peaked in the 1980s and 1990s with the GT Series. Bishop sold IMSA in 1989, in part due to health issues. However, he remained a part of sports car racing, with a lengthy tenure as commissioner of GRAND-AM Road Racing,

With the Grand-Am in the United States planning to start a racing series in 2017 aligned with the same specifications  as Europe’s popular racing series, Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft, aka DTM, in the future, as well as the alignment with the Japanese Super GT500, globalization of this motorsports series is about to occur by allowing inter-series racing with cars from different countries.

With France’s financial assistance, the Bishops built IMSA into a premier sports car organization that peaked in the 1980s and ‘90s with the Camel-sponsored GT Series, featuring the fabulous GTP prototypes. Bishop sold IMSA in 1989, in part due to health issues. But he remained a vital part of sports car racing, with a lengthy tenure as commissioner of GRAND-AM Road Racing. – See more at: http://www.imsa.com/articles/imsa-co-founder-john-bishop-passes-away-age-87#sthash.50Ue0Z1K.dpuf

“John was a giant in the sport,” said J.C. Argetsinger, International Motor Racing Research Center president and a friend of the Bishop family. “His achievements as a leader and innovator are unsurpassed, but he will also be warmly remembered in the hearts of drivers and entrants at all levels for his genuine interest in their welfare.”

The Bishops’ personal collection in the Center’s archives boasts photographs from John’s many years at the Sports Car Club of America in a variety of positions, including as executive director at the end of his tenure. The Center’s collections include the corporate records of the International Motor Sports Association, IMSA, which the Bishops founded in May 1969 in partnership with Bill France and NASCAR.

The collection also holds original artwork by Bishop, an artist who began his professional career as an industrial designer.

Bishop was a Massachusetts native who called Cortland, N.Y. home He had moved to San Rafael, CA several years ago. He is survived by his son Mitch, daughter-in-law Julia, four granddaughters, brother Peter Bishop and sister Ruth Rodger. He was preceded in death by his wife Peggy (August 2013) and sons Mark and Marshal.

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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