TOPEKA, Kan. (June 9, 2014) –Former SCCA Executive Director and Hall of Fame inductee John Bishop died June 5 in San Rafael, California due to complications from a recent illness. He was 87.
Bishop is widely recognized as one of the most important names in American sports car racing, having served in multiple capacities with key sanctioning bodies that have shaped the sport. His leadership roles included a stint as the Executive Director of SCCA from 1962-1969, a dramatic period that saw fundamental changes in the operation of the Club.
Bishop is credited with advancing the Club Racing program through changes to the classification system, ranking cars on their potential rather than their displacement, and overseeing the creation of the class championship system and the SCCA Runoffs® concept.
In the Professional Racing arena, he played a key role in the creation of the United States Road Racing Championship series, the Can-Am series, the Trans-Am® series and the Formula 5000 series. Following his tenure with SCCA, he left to become a co-founder of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), and built that organization into prominence before selling it in 1989.
Bishop was inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame in 2011, and is scheduled for induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America this August.
“Very few individuals had as paramount an influence on sports car racing in the United States as John Bishop,” SCCA President and CEO Lisa Noble said. “Despite leaving the SCCA 45 years ago, you can still see the results of Mr. Bishop’s vision and leadership in our organization and on motorsports in the United States.”
Bishop is survived by his son Mitch, daughter-in-law Julia, four grandchildren, brother Peter Bishop and sister Ruth Rodger. His wife, Peggy, preceded him in death in August 2013, as did his sons Mark and Marshall.
The family is asking that donations in John Bishop’s honor be made to the International Motor Racing Research Center, in Watkins Glen, New York.