DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.Â¯ (Jan. 27, 2003) -- Hurley Haywood's success at Daytona International Speedway began when he made his first visit to the "World Center of Racing" in 1969 for a SCCA Regional event. He won the race and began list of ...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.¯ (Jan. 27, 2003) -- Hurley Haywood's success at Daytona International Speedway began when he made his first visit to the "World Center of Racing" in 1969 for a SCCA Regional event. He won the race and began list of accomplishments at the 3.56-mile road course unmatched by another other driver in sports car racing history.
"I was awestruck by this place," Haywood said of his first experience at Daytona. "When you come through that tunnel for the first time, it's a pretty intimidating place. We won the race and that's been a love affair that has lasted well over 30 years."
Haywood, who resides in Jacksonville, Fla., has turned the Speedway into his personal sports car playground, capturing an unprecedented five overall victories in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the most prestigious sports car race in North America.
"Daytona has been super special for me," said Haywood, whose last Rolex 24 victory came in 1991. "I love coming down here. It's like my back yard. I only live an hour down the road from here."
Haywood gives much of the credit to his success to a long-standing relationship with Porsche, which has delivered all five of his Rolex 24 wins.
"I've had a fantastic career and won a lot of big major races, but I would've not been able to win those races without driving a Porsche," Haywood said. "Porsche is absolutely, without question, the car to be driving in these long distance races. It's reliable. They're well made. If I hadn't been driving a Porsche, I certainly wouldn't be in the spot I am today."
Haywood will make his 30th career start in this year's 41st Rolex 24 on Feb. 1-2 driving the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche FABCAR Daytona Prototype with co-drivers J.C. France, Scott Goodyear and Scott Sharp.
The Daytona Prototype, which has been in development for more than a year, will replace the SportsRacing Prototype open-cockpit cars as the new premier class in the Rolex Sports Car Series beginning with the Rolex 24.
Haywood has been part of the development of the Daytona Prototype since the car was first sketched on a cocktail napkin. He wants to see a Daytona Prototype win the overall title, but more importantly he wants his Daytona Prototype to win.
"I have to be somewhat selfish because I would like to win another Rolex 24 At Daytona," Haywood said. "Six sounds really good, but it's important to showcase this car and do well with this car. We have two cars and I'm hoping my car is the one that comes out on top."
This year's Rolex 24 kicks off another busy year for the 54-year-old Haywood. For the first time since 1994, he'll compete a full season of pro racing as he contends for championships in the Daytona Prototype class of the Rolex Sports Car Series. He'll also continue to serve as a Vice President at Brumos Racing, assist Porsche with product launches and conduct the Porsche Driving Experience.
"I race now on a consistent basis, but its vintage cars," Haywood said. "Going back and racing in the pro series is going to be a nice change."
Tickets for the 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.