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
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.