The Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca brings together the history of Porsche motorsports in one place. The cars present represent everything from the earliest 356s to the RS Spyder that's still competitive in international sports car competition. The drivers attending come from every era as well, and include such Porsche racing legends as Tony Adamowicz, Dick Barbour, Derek Bell, Vic Elford, George Follmer, David Piper and Brian Redman. Racer.com spoke to some of the Porsche icons about their favorite and most significant racecars.
Hurley Haywood and the Porsche 911 seem almost synonymous, especially white, red and blue Brumos 911s with the No. 59 on the side. He won three 24 Hours of Daytona and a 12 Hours of Sebring in a Carrera RSR and a pair of IMSA GT titles. But he had his fair share of success in prototypes as well, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times in three different prototypes (his third win came in the Dauer 962 which, although technically a production-based GT car per the rules that year, was based on the Porsche 962 prototype) and winning Daytona in a 962.
Winning the world's premier endurance race, though, tends to etch the mount for that victory in a driver's heart. So it only makes sense that Haywood's favorite Porsche racecar is the 936 from his first year at Le Sarthe (BELOW).
“One of the nicest cars that I've driven was the 936,” he says. “The first time I drove that car was at Le Mans in 1977. I was teammate to Jurgen Barth and then Jacky Ickx came over after his car broke. We fought our way back and won the race.”
The 936 just hit Haywood's sweet spot. That was especially true of the final iteration of the car, which was powered by the engine that Porsche developed to tackle the Indianapolis 500.
“That car was just a sweetheart. I like a car to have a little bit of movement in the rear and I also like to have a lot of power. That thing wasn't just glued to the ground like a 962. It didn't move around as much as a 917/10 and it didn't have the horsepower. But it was just a combination of grip and power that was, to me, perfect.”
Haywood still loves his 911s, of course, and it's the common thread that runs through them all that he likes. “Each one has that DNA of a 911,” he says.
“Every one feels very familiar to me. Even [Brumos's] current Cup car, when I sit in that car and I sit in my 1971 car, there are certain things that are very familiar. Even though the dashboard in the Cup car is all electronic, the confines of the dashboard, the pillars, are the same. When you sit in a 911, you always feel like you're back home.”
This weekend, Haywood is back home in a 1975 Carrera RSR, in addition to driving a 1971 Brumos 914/6 GT.