Harris Hurley Haywood, the most accomplished American endurance racer of all time, turns 70 today, just ahead of the 70th anniversary of the first Porsche sports car, a marque with which he’s been associated for a substantial part of his career.
Haywood has multiple victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring, 24 Hours of Le Mans and Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, spanning a racing career that began in 1969. Overall, Haywood won three times at Le Mans, five times at Daytona and two times at Sebring, while also becoming the first racer to win at the 24 Hours of Daytona and 24 Hours of Le Mans in the same year.
Born in Chicago, Haywood achieved his first overall endurance victory at the 1973 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona along with co-driver Peter Gregg just three years after completing a tour of duty in Vietnam. Haywood and Gregg’s next victory came soon thereafter, at the 12 Hours of Sebring just a month later. A serious crash in 1983 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Mosport) that put left his leg in a cast for two years did not put an end of Haywood’s career, and he came back to racing with Porsche full time just a few years later in 1986. Haywood went on to take the 1991 IMSA Supercar Championship in a 911 Turbo.
“Hurley has been a featured guest at all five previous Porsche Rennsport Reunions and will attend the upcoming Rennsport Reunion VI this Sept. 27-30, 2018 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca,” Porsche said. “Haywood has been the chief driving instructor for the Porsche Sport Driving School in Birmingham, Alabama, since 1999 and currently resides in St. Augustine, Florida.”
Haywood remains one of the most decorated Porsche ambassadors
Haywood’s longstanding involvement with Porsche has meant not only racing for the team, but also mentoring and teaching young drivers; Haywood remains one of the most decorated Porsche ambassadors to this day.
“As we prepare to celebrate 70 years of Porsche sports cars on June 8, I do not believe the similar anniversaries are by coincidence,” said Klaus Zellmer, president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America. “In recognition of his remarkable achievements and daily contributions he continues to make to our brand, it is important that all of us at Porsche congratulate Hurley and wish him a very happy 70th birthday.”