Celebrating Pride Month and America’s Greatest Endurance Racer, Hurley Haywood
Lime Rock Park is celebrating Pride Month and this weekend’s 100th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans by paying tribute to Hurley Haywood, America’s greatest endurance racer.
Haywood’s Lime Rock History
Over the years, Haywood has been a popular competitor at Lime Rock, driving in IMSA and Trans Am in cars including Porsches in Camel GT; Group 44 Jaguars in GTP; Group 44 Audis in Trans Am and IMSA, and Brumos Porsche in Bridgestone Supercars.
Haywood made his Lime Rock debut in 1972, finishing seventh in a Porsche with Andrew Carduner. LRP highlights included second in the 1977 Camel GT on Memorial Day – two weeks before his first victory at Le Mans. He also finished second with Brian Redman in a Group 44 Jaguar XJR-5 in 1985, finishing behind the Porsche 962 of Drake Olson and Rob Dyson. He finished fourth in the 1988 Trans Am and third in Camel GTO the following year, both times driving Group 44 Audis.
His last race at Lime Rock was in 1993, when he finished fourth in Supercar driving his signature No. 59 Brumos Porsche.
Haywood’s Legendary Racing Career
Haywood was a three-time winner of the French classic, scoring in three different decades. He captured the 1977 event in a Porsche 936; in 1983 in a Porsche 956; and in 1994 in a Porsche 962.
Back in the U.S., Haywood was the first five-time winner of America’s premier 24-hour race, the Rolex 24 At Daytona. His 1973 victory for Brumos Racing with Peter Gregg was the first international victory for a 911-based Porsche. He also captured the event in 1975, 1977 and 1979 in 911-based Porsches. Haywood next won in 1991, driving a Porsche 962 during the high-water mark for the original IMSA GT Prototypes. He also has a class victory at Daytona, joining Gregg in 1972.
Haywood won at Sebring in 1973 and 1981, both in Porsches. The 1973 triumph – shared with Gregg and Dr. David Helmick – followed up the historic Daytona victory. In 1981, he won with Al Holbert and Bruce Levin in a Porsche 935/80.
The Chicago native first caught the attention of Gregg when he beat him in a Florida autocross race. Impressed by the 21-year-old driver, Gregg helped him obtain a NASCAR license, so that they could compete in the 1969 Watkins Glen Six Hours, where they finished eighth overall and first in class in a Porsche 911s. It was his first of nine victories at Watkins Glen, most in the history of the circuit.
Haywood’s career was put on hold when he was drafted into the Army in 1970, serving on helicopters in Vietnam. He rejoined Brumos Racing upon his return, winning the 1972 Camel GT championship. He went on to score 28 IMSA victories, and was second in all-time Camel GT points.
Away from IMSA, he raced in the 1980 Indianapolis 500, finishing 18th. Haywood was a four-time competitor in IROC – the International Race of Champions – that matched stars from different branches of motorsports competing in identically prepared cars.
Haywood extended his career in the Grand-Am Rolex Series with the debut of the Daytona Prototype. He scored the first overall victories for the new DP, winning at Homestead and Phoenix with JC France for Brumos Racing in a Porsche Fabcar. Haywood’s final victory came at Homestead in the 2009 finale, winning with Joao Barbosa in a Porsche DP
Haywood remains active as a spokesman for motorsports and driver coach. He lives in the Jacksonville, Florida, area with his husband, Steve Hill.