Race car driver Hurley Haywood talks Porsche and Concours d'Elegance

eshaw@islandpacket.comOctober 23, 2013 

Race car driver Hurley Heyward is the honorary chairman at this year's Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival and Concours d'Elegance.

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  • IF YOU GO

    Highlights of the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d'Elegance:

    Savannah Speed Classic: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 25 through Oct. 27, next to Westin Savannah Harbor Resort & Spa, Hutchinson Island. Tickets are $20 at the gate on Oct. 25, $25 on Oct. 26-27.

    Car Club Jamboree: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Port Royal Golf Club, Hilton Head Island. Tickets are $35 at the gate.

    Motoring Midway: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 2-3 at the Port Royal Golf Club, Hilton Head. Tickets are $35 at the gate. The featured exhibit is the "Cars of the Great Gatsby Era," which includes a 1928 Packard 443 Roadster, a 1930 Rolls Royce Phantom 1 and a 1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster, among others.

    This year's Cartini Lounge will also be Gatsby-themed with specialty Ketel One Vodka drinks available for purchase.

    Concours d'Elegance: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Port Royal Golf Club. Tickets are $40 at the gate.

    Details and full schedule: hhimotoringfestival.com

    WIN TICKETS! Click here for details about our clubhouse pass contest

Since the 2013 Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival and Concours d'Elegance selected Porsche as this year's honored marquee, it seems fitting that the event's honorary chairman is Hurley Haywood, a legendary race car driver who has been whipping Porches around the track for more than 40 years.

The event is set for Nov. 2-3 at the Port Royal Golf Club, a strategic move from the farm at Honey Horn that was made to help boost ticket sales and tourist traffic, coordinators said. The Savannah Speed Classic, a series of races in conjunction with the Hilton Head event, is Oct. 25 through Oct. 27 on Hutchinson Island.

Classic Porsches will make up two of the 20 classes that are judged at the Concours, competing in either the Pre-911 or the Post-356 categories. Cars in the Pre-911 category have to be a Porsche model prior to 1963. Post-356 cars are limited to models from 1963 to 1973.

"I'm sure there will be Porsche race cars, probably cars that I've driven over the years," Haywood said.

Haywood's racing career includes five wins at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, three wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the two wins at 12 Hours of Sebring, making him the winningest driver in the history of endurance classics.

Earlier this year, Haywood was a judge at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance as well as the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

The Florida Sports Hall of Fame member plans to walk around and say hello to attendees of the Hilton Head events.

Haywood is the vice president at Brumos Porsche in Jacksonville, Fla., and the chief driving instructor for Porsche Sport Driving School in Birmingham, Ala. He also does work for Porsche's public relations department.

He will be joined on the marquee by several notable judges, including Jens Waltehr, president of Porsche Motorsport North America and automotive historian Dr. Paul Sable.

The Hilton Head Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette flagged down Haywood for a couple car questions before the gussied-up roadsters hit the golf course.

Question. What are you looking forward to most about the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival?

Answer. Being able to view great cars. Hilton Head is a great place to visit and when you take that backdrop and put beautiful, exotic cars together with that, it makes for a really nice weekend.

Q. Do you have a favorite car besides a Porsche?

A. Um, no. I appreciate good engineering good and good design, but Porsche really has captured my attention and love for a long time. I don't think there's any other car that gets the juices flowing as much as a Porsche. I can respect and admire other cars, but Porsche is the car that does it for me.

Q. What should the average person know about what it takes to take care of these types of high-end cars?

A. An unlimited bank account (laughs). It's very labor-intensive because cars don't like to be left sitting. They have to be operated. So even though you have a car that's worth millions of dollars, you have to run it on a regular basis. You have to keep all of the parts and fittings and rubber pieces lubricated and maintained. It's more difficult to do it on an old car than a new car. When you have a car that's 100 years old or even 50 years old, the amount of work to make that car a Concours-conditioned car is enormous. For the cars that people are going to be seeing on the field at Hilton Head, what they are seeing is not only beautiful, but represents a lot of time, a lot of energy and a lot of money.

Q. What do you look for when judging Concours cars?

A. I like a well-maintained car. I don't like too-perfect of a car. Let's say a car came off the assembly line and a guy bought it new in 1950. When I look at that car today, I don't want the car to look better than it did when it came off the showroom in 1950.

A lot of times people over-restore cars to the point of being absolutely perfect. But if I had two cars that were of similar make and model and year, and one had a patina and one was absolutely perfect, my hat would go to the one with the patina on it.

I like a car that's used. Cars are supposed to be enjoyed and not only for the people that own the cars, but for also for people to look at them as they go by.

Bug stains on the front nose of the car means the guy drives it and enjoys it.

Follow Erin Shaw at twitter.com/IPBG_ErinShaw.

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