Nonfiction Book Award Status: Gold
It was apparent from infancy: Hurley Haywood was a driver. From pedal cars to go karts, from his Mantz quarter midget to the family-farm Studebaker truck. From his graduation-present Nickey Corvette to landing in Peter Gregg’s Brumos team, Hurley had “the touch” that would take him to victory at Le Mans, Sebring, Daytona and multiple championships. His easy demeanor and instantly recognizable name also made him the perfect ambassador for the Porsche and Brumos brands.
Now, for the first time, Haywood tells his whole story. He discusses the role IMSA played in his developing career, racing the monster Can-Am Porsche 917-10, and Brumos history. He pays tribute to Peter Gregg and talks about friendships he made with Mark Donohue, Al Holbert, Vasek Polak and many more of the legendary racing personalities from the last 50 years. And, for the first time, he talks about a part of his life that was rumored, but never confirmed.
At 420 pages, filled with 650 photographs, this is the definitive book on the life and career of racing great Hurley Haywood.
Hurley Haywood: With five wins in the 24 Hours of Daytona, three in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and two in the 12 Hours of Sebring, Hurley Haywood is recognized as one of the most successful endurance sports-car racers in the world.
Though he didn’t come from humble means, Haywood is remarkable for how seriously he took his profession. Not satisfied to be a wealthy, gentleman driver, Haywood set out to make driving his career and had the talent and will to do so. Though he regards his meeting Peter Gregg as the chance of a lifetime, Haywood went above and beyond to develop his professional skills in a range of series and with a variety of teams. It didn’t hurt that he won the first professional race he entered, taking a class win at Watkins Glen in July 1969.
Though it seemed his career path was made, he received his draft notice only weeks later and served his country at Can Thơ Army Air Base from November 1969 to December 1970 during the Vietnam war. A break like that could have ended most careers, but it stiffened Haywood’s resolve. He was back racing cars within two months of his return from Vietnam and won two IMSA championships back to back in 1971 and 1972.
Stepping from GT cars to the Can-Am series in 1973 proved that he could race with the world’s best in the most powerful sports cars of any era, finishing on the podium several times with the likes of Mark Donohue. When he wasn’t pairing with Peter Gregg for the big races at Sebring and Daytona, he was driving for independents, going wheel to wheel with all his contemporaries, including Peter, George Follmer, Al Holbert, Brian Redman, and David Hobbs.
When the factory Martini Porsche team called for him to join its 1977 Le Mans squad, driving the 936 with factory drivers Jacky Ickx, Jürgen Barth, and Henri Pescarolo, he held up his end and became one of a very few drivers ever to win Le Mans on his first try. Rather than sticking around to celebrate and relax, Haywood flew home to race with independent Bob Hagestad only a few days later.
While many racing drivers drift away from the sport when results wane, Haywood never did. Though he endured periods off the podium, he continued to drive with the dedication and professionalism which eventually saw him become one of the winningest sports car racers ever, taking his last professional win – in Daytona Prototypes – forty years after his first and a podium finish at Daytona in 2012, at the age of 63.
In addition to racing, Haywood helped develop both the Brumos Driving Experience and the Porsche Sport Driving School to help and encourage Porsche enthusiasts to learn more about their cars’ and their personal capabilities.
Off the track, Haywood kept a regular office at Brumos Porsche in Jacksonville serving as its national ambassador and became a globally recognized ambassador for the Porsche brand for all his adult life. Liked by fans, competitors, and race promoters for his easy-going, approachable attitude, Haywood has become one of the most respected and revered spokesmen in the world for automobile racing and performance driving.
Sean Cridland: Sean Cridland grew up in Sammonsville, NY, on the southern edge of the Adirondack Mountains. His dad was an avid skier and sports-car enthusiast, so family vacations were spent at places like Mad River Glen, Watkins Glen or Lime Rock. Sean carried on both interests, though skiing carried more weight and he moved to Aspen, Colorado in 1973. Over the next 15 years he worked a variety of resort jobs, but also raced on the ski racing circuit, taking several podiums at the international level in speed skiing and setting a personal best of over 126 mph in an era when the record was 129mph. As a training exercise, Cridland also set a car-top record with Team Vesco Racing on the Bonneville Salt Flats by riding on top of their #444 streamliner at 162mph through the mile. When Cridland’s athlete career ended, he took his competitive energy into academia, where he worked his way through three degrees in nine years, eventually completing a Ph.D. in east-west comparative philosophy from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Cridland taught courses in philosophy, religious studies, and political science at the college level before eventually returning to his love of sports cars. After serving for many years as newsletter editor for the Roadrunner Region of the Porsche Club of America, Cridland took his automotive writing and photography to the professional level, publishing articles in Porsche Panorama, Porsche 356 Registry magazine, Excellence, 000 magazine, and the websites Flat Sixes and RS Magazine. He now makes his home in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. Hurley From the Beginning is his first book as co-author and publisher.