GM's Fishel awarded "Spirit of Le Mans"

Herb Fishel awarded "Spirit of Le Mans" GM Racing's former Executive Director honored with Phil Hill, Norbert Singer LE MANS, France -- GM Racing's former Executive Director, Herb Fishel, received the prestigious "Spirit Of Le Mans" award from...

Herb Fishel awarded "Spirit of Le Mans"
GM Racing's former Executive Director honored with Phil Hill, Norbert Singer

LE MANS, France -- GM Racing's former Executive Director, Herb Fishel, received the prestigious "Spirit Of Le Mans" award from the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, organizers of the Le Mans 24 Hours. The "Spirit Of Le Mans" is awarded to those whose talent and dedication has made Le Mans a household name across the world. Former Le Mans winner and F1 World Champion, Phil Hill, was also given the award, as was Norbert Singer, Porsche's Technical Director for the past 30 years.

"Since the creation of GM Racing in 1991, we know it was impossible for you to remain insensible to the call of Le Mans," said Michel Cosson, President of the A.C.O., on presenting the award to Fishel. "And coming back to defend the victories of 2001 and 2002 shows the kind of sportsmanship we like at Le Mans."

"Le Mans is the most beautiful and challenging race in the world," said Fishel. "In the 1950s, I grew up in Virginia and first heard of a driver named Phil Hill and a car called a Porsche. In the paper I read about a race called Le Mans. It is therefore very special to receive this award in the presence of two people I thought I'd never meet."

Fishel, 61, recently announced his retirement as executive director of GM Racing, leaving a legacy in racing spanning 40 years. Fishel will be on special assignment to GM Service and Parts Operations until his full retirement on Sept. 1. Doug Duchardt, former Group Manager for oval track racing, assumed Fishel's responsibilities at GM Racing effective June 1.

Fishel worked with late Zora Arkus-Duntov and Vince Piggins, who initiated GM's rebirth into racing and performance parts with the Corvette and small-block Chevy V-8 engine in the 1950s. Fishel has influenced GM's performance programs throughout the second half of the 20th century. On Oct. 8, 1991, all of GM's racing programs were combined under his supervision.

In 1997, Fishel was named by Hot Rod magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the first 50 years of hot rodding. He also has been recognized by Racer magazine as one of the dozen most influential people in racing.

"I'm grateful to General Motors for giving me the opportunity to come to Le Mans," said Fishel. "I would also like to thank Corvette Racing for doing an outstanding job. Many thanks as well to Don Panoz and Scott Atherton for creating the American Le Mans Series. We are all looking forward to a great future for the A.C.O. and Le Mans."

-gm racing-

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