The man who is perhaps the best American endurance racer of all time has hung up his helmet—professionally, anyway. Hurley Haywood, whose career spans nearly four decades, unbuckled for the last time late in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, handed his Brumos Riley-Porsche over to a teammate, thus closing a career that produced a record five 24-hour triumphs at Daytona, three at Le Mans, and a pair of 12-hour wins at Sebring, as well as countless other victories. His record also includes championships of IMSA’s Camel GT series in 1971 (shared with Peter Gregg) and 1972, as well as the SCCA Trans-Am in 1988.
Although he chose this year’s Rolex race for his finale, and his car expired after he handed off, Haywood very nearly won his last race as a pro. Last fall he stepped into the familiar #59 Brumos entry as a last-minute substitution for the suspended J.C. France alongside Joao Barbosa, and the pairing proceeded to win the Grand-Am season finale on that same Daytona circuit.
In his role as a vice president of the Brumos organization, Haywood will still have a role in the team and the sport, but he no longer intends it to be hands-on in the cockpit. He will continue his work behind the wheel as chief instructor for the Porsche Driving Experience, and still plans to participate in vintage racing.
Were one to try to capsulize Haywood’s career, the words most likely to be used would be patient, smooth, and fast. For an endurance racer, what else is there?