VIDEO (Hilton Head Island, SC) You don’t become America’s most decorated endurance driver in history by taking the easy route. Approaching the 1977 24 Hours of Daytona racing legend Hurley Haywood was faced with such a dilemma. Should he conform to the new generation of Porsche Turbos that came to compete or should he stick with the tried-and-true, however severely out horse powered, Porsche 911 RSR. (Watch video above – select HD for best viewing experience.)
Haywood, who we filmed with during the Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance and Savannah Speed Classic, tells us “The turbo cars were something I felt were unproven.” But when his #43 RSR qualified at the rear of the field Haywood really began doubting his chances of success. “I thought, what have you done?”. Once the green flag dropped the competition started having reliability issues. As Haywood found himself piloting for an eight-hour stint at night the #43 RSR rose to the top of the scoring pylon – and never looked back.
During the Savannah Speed Classic, which is a full weekend of Historic SportsCar Racing sanctioned races, Haywood was behind the wheel of a modern Porsche GT3 Cup two-seater giving hot lap rides to spectators. A few days later he took on the role of Honorary Chairman for the Concours d’Elegance. “This is my first time judging at Hilton Head … I’ve done the Speed Classic down in Savannah for a number of years but my first time here at Hilton Head and its really a nice venue, the manufactures really support it, the fans, and it’s in a beautiful area.”
Brumos Porsche, whom Haywood has been associated with for most of his career, fielded three legendary Porsches from their collection including his Daytona winning Porsche 911 RSR along with the Can-Am championship winning Porsche 917/10 and Peter Gregg’s championship winning Porsche 935. In our short film, “Endurance Icon: Hurley Haywood”, Haywood gives us a brief history and some insight into these race cars. While Haywood claims to have retired from racing he shows no signs of letting off of the gas.
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