Hur­ley Hay­wood

In the eighth and fi­nal in­ter­view with Tony Mcgui­ness, Amer­ica’s great­est en­durance race driver shares some ad­di­tional mo­ments from his ca­reer and looks to the fu­ture

Total 911 - - Guest Column: Hurley Haywood -

My last en­durance race vic­tory was in 2009 at Homestead-mi­ami Speed­way. It was with our Day­tona Pro­to­type car and was a com­plete and ut­ter sur­prise to me. I hadn’t even planned on par­tic­i­pat­ing in that race. I was do­ing an event for Porsche demon­strat­ing the Panam­era to the press. While at the Porsche event I re­ceived a phone call telling me I needed to get down to Homestead im­me­di­ately. One of the driv­ers who was sup­posed to drive the race couldn’t, so I had to take his place.

Less than 30 min­utes after ar­riv­ing at the track I got in the car and qual­i­fied. What’s re­mark­able is I hadn’t driven that car in over a year. Driv­ing with João Bar­bosa (below), we man­aged the car and time well and won the race. It was nice to win my last race driv­ing in a pro­to­type.

In 2010 we ba­si­cally restarted Bru­mos Rac­ing with a 911 prod­uct along with the tag: “We race what we sell.” It was tremen­dously ex­cit­ing to get back into the GT por­tion of rac­ing. It was very suc­cess­ful for Bru­mos as we won the cham­pi­onship the first year back.

My fi­nal pro­fes­sional race was the Rolex 24 Hours of Day­tona in 2012. It was an emo­tional feel­ing from the be­gin­ning, as this was go­ing to be my last race. I have so many mem­o­ries at Day­tona In­ter­na­tional Speed­way. It’s where I started my ca­reer back in 1969 in my very first re­gional race.

As I’ve men­tioned, win­ning the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the most im­por­tant race to win. How­ever, I’ve al­ways felt win­ning the 24 Hours of Day­tona is more dif­fi­cult. There were no lights at Day­tona un­til the late 1990s, which made it very tough. There is a big speed dif­fer­ence in cars along with a big dif­fer­ence in driver per­for­mance com­pared to Le Mans. The bank­ing of the track at Day­tona also makes it very dif­fi­cult. You have 12 hours of dark­ness at Day­tona. It is a very gru­elling race.

One of the many rea­sons I felt emo­tional was the fact it was my 40th start at Day­tona. No one has even come close to that many starts. We led the race for a long time, but we had some prob­lems and fin­ished 3rd, which is still in­cred­i­ble. To go out stand­ing on the podium was fan­tas­tic. To be able to close out my ca­reer at that fa­mous track meant so much to me and is some­thing I will al­ways cher­ish.

While my rac­ing ca­reer is over I’m still closely con­nected to Porsche. I am a Porsche brand am­bas­sador along with Pa­trick Long. It is a sim­i­lar role Mark Web­ber plays in Europe. When Porsche Cars North Amer­ica holds a big event or does some­thing press-re­lated I am there to rep­re­sent Porsche as their US spokesman. I am also the chief driv­ing in­struc­tor at the Porsche Track Ex­pe­ri­ence in Birm­ing­ham, Alabama. How­ever, I am go­ing to cut back on some of the teach­ing at the school.

I’ve been asked: “Who is the next Hur­ley Hay­wood?” You can’t re­ally com­pare the driv­ers from when I came through to the driv­ers of to­day. Cars now are much safer and in some cases much faster than when we were driv­ing, but it was a dif­fer­ent era so it is dif­fi­cult to make cor­re­la­tions be­tween what went on in the 1970s to what goes on to­day.

Pa­trick Long stands on the man­tle with me. He is an in­cred­i­ble driver. Pa­trick and I share a lot of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, in­clud­ing do­ing stuff for the press. There are a lot of qual­i­fied and re­ally tal­ented kids out there that have the ca­pa­bil­i­ties and the de­meanour to con­tinue on in that light, but you have to see where these kids are go­ing to go and whether they want to make the com­mit­ment that is needed to stick with Porsche.

That’s the im­por­tant equa­tion. If you look back over the 40-plus years I was with Porsche, there were highs and lows. You had to push through the lows as you knew there would be highs on the other side, and that’s an im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion.

It’s phe­nom­e­nal how much Amer­ica has grown up in the last 20 years. Who would have ever guessed that LGBT peo­ple could get mar­ried? I think at­ti­tudes of peo­ple have changed. It’s im­por­tant to dis­cuss things, as that is the force that changes peo­ple’s minds. Peo­ple are re­al­is­ing we are all in this to­gether.

Re­flect­ing back on my life, I’ve truly had an amaz­ing ca­reer. I am go­ing to kick back and re­lax for a while. I have a great bal­ance with work and free time which I am en­joy­ing very much. I have my book out there, Hur­ley from the Be­gin­ning, and the doc­u­men­tary film on my life, Hur­ley, which will premier in Los An­ge­les in Feb­ru­ary

2019. While I no longer race for Porsche, it’s still a very ex­cit­ing time and I am look­ing for­ward to what the fu­ture brings.

To­tal 911 wishes to sin­cerely thank Hur­ley Hay­wood for shar­ing some of his mem­oirs from his in­cred­i­ble ca­reer.

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