There are just a handful of racing drivers that can list the number and quality of achievements that Hurley Haywood can. True, there might be more than a handful in total, but within each discipline of the sport, there are just a few that stand out. I won’t risk putting down a list here, because if I leave out the name of your favourite driver, you won’t be happy, but I’m sure you know where I’m coming from. But the new book, Hurley – From The Beginning, will open your eyes to what a consistent racing driver Hurley Haywood was, across the continents and across time.
From an early age, Haywood had a desire for all things motoring, but it was probably a Mantz quarter midget petrol-powered car that he received as a Christmas present when just a kid, that grabbed his attention more than anything else. We can probably all mention moments when something significant changed the course of our lives, but for Haywood, this was an important milestone.
Hurley Haywood was raised in Chicago and Wheaton, Illinois, and even as a teenager after a visit to the Sebring 12 Hour, he didn’t see his future in motor racing. But a chance meeting later with Peter Gregg, changed all of that, and he would soon be driving anything he could get his hands on. There was no doubting Haywood’s driving skills and potential, but equally importantly, it was also life-long relationships with Porsche and the Brumos dealership that provided the kinds of opportunities of which most racing drivers can only dream.
Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were assassinated in 1968, and it was around this time that Haywood was just getting into his stride as a racing driver. Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were strolling around on the moon in July 1969 while the Woodstock music festival was held in White Lake, New York, only a month later. It was just after winning his class in Haywood’s first professional race at Watkins Glen, that he received his call up papers to serve in the army in Vietnam. All of the above events would have had a profound effect on the outlook of an impressionable young adult making his way in the world during the 1960s.
Haywood returned from Vietnam and got straight back into his racing. The record and various accounts of Haywood’s numerous racing exploits are all explained in great detail in the book, so I will not repeat these here. At the top of that list though, would undoubtedly be his three overall victories at Le Mans, five wins in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and two at the 12 Hours of Sebring. In addition, he won several championships and dozens of other races during a career spanning more than 43 years, making Hurley Haywood one of the world’s most successful endurance sports-car racers. In the process, he made the #59 race number his own, as it has adorned the flanks of almost every race car he drove.
The book, Hurley – From the Beginning, is a substantial publication in size, weight and significance. The book comprises 420 pages and is packed with more than 650 photos in which Haywood expounds on his illustrious racing career, his colourful personal life, the cars he has driven, and the drivers he has either raced with or against. The story is well told and well written by Haywood and co-author Sean Cridland, and makes for easy, entertaining reading.
With the book having such generous proportions, the designer has been able to layout the pages in such a way that makes it enjoyable to page through, without any crowding of text or images. In fact, there are several fantastic double-page photographic spreads, and on the whole, the photography is really rich and supports the text well. Some books read like stuffy old history books crammed with facts and results, not this one, you will find it a breeze.
Hurley Haywood tells his story just the way it was, warts and all, pulling no punches along the way, which is great because the reader gets the straight up truth. Over the years, Haywood has rubbed shoulders with countless of the world’s best sports car drivers, and he gives a refreshing account of these encounters in the pages of the book. What is really great, is that the reader will get a complete account of Hurley Haywood’s life and career, from childhood right up to the present day. That takes guts, and Haywood is to be commended for taking this line.
The book took three years to research and write, and involved innumerable interviews. The Foreword has been written by none other than Patrick Long, Porsche’s only American works driver. Towards the back of the book are a number of very useful reference sections. Firstly, a word from Manfred Jantke (former Porsche PR and Racing Director) and Dan Davis (current owner of the Brumos Group of companies), gives a useful perspective on Hurley Haywood, the man. This is followed by a list of Haywood’s career highlights and achievements, as well as the posts he has held in the sport. The final editorial section of the book contains a representative list, although very comprehensive, of the cars that Hurley Haywood has driven in his 43-year career. Each car is accompanied by a photograph together with a technical spec of that car, expertly compiled by Porsche aficionado, Kerry Morse.
So, should you buy this book? If I were you, I would not hesitate, because if you are like me and enjoy the stories behind the stories, the racing history that unfolded during the 1960s to the 1980s, is like no other period. Haywood’s career spans quite possibly the most exciting period in the history of motorsport, involving all Porsche models from the 911, 914, and through the prototypes right up to the 962 and Dauer Porsche that Haywood was victorious with in 1994 and beyond to the Daytona Prototypes. It is a magnificent book, and definitely not one you want to be seen without!