The three-time Le Mans champion was depicted with blondes and sponsored by Penthouse. But he lived a very different life away from the track
When Hurley Haywood emerged in the scooting representation 50 years ago he looked like someone out of central molding. He had the trim frame, the sandy fastens, the sapphire looks. He was the total package, a Paul Newman type who would go on to win titles and Le Humankind and scoot in the Indy 500.
But unlike Newman, who made up racing late in life as preparation for the lead in the 1969 classic Winningand willed himself into a first-rate wheelman, Haywood was a natural. He depicted as much while dusting the field in premier endurance races at Le Adult and Daytona. All the while, portraits of Haywood celebrating victory with a smiling blonde on his arm penetrated, and Penthouse even indicated on as a sponsor. Haywood looked like he was living his illusion. But to hear him recall that period in his life now, it chimes is a ordeal.” I was afraid ,” he tells the Guardian . ” I didn’t want it to get out .”
The < em> it is the fact that Haywood is gay. It’s a fact he went to great lengths to conceal before lastly coming out in an autobiography last year. Earlier this year the 71 -year-old significantly unburdened himself in Hurley, a documentary of his life and meters that was produced by the actor-racer Patrick Dempsey. Haywood’s narration seems well worth revisiting now, with Pride Month coming hot on the ends of the most important one scooting weekend of the year, this weekend’s Indy 500. In numerous practices it’s a story that bums belief. Haywood, after all, didn’t really hide in plain sight at a time when homophobia was commonplace and panic over the Aids epidemic was reaching fever pitch. He secreted in the quien es mas macho nature of auto racing, where gender- or heterosexual sex, at the least- dumps. Chevys and Budweisers and Marlboros, specifically.
Haywood didn’t so much recline into the role of the American James Hunt as give others fill in the spaces in his personality, which were exacerbated by his agonizing media shyness. As it turns out, success on the track was the perfect cover for Haywood. His first real brush with victory came in college, while kicking around Florida’s autocross scene. It was there that he encountered- and outdrove- Peter Gregg, an nobility endurance racer who came apart so impressed that he accompanied Haywood onto his top-shelf sports car team as a co-driver. Soon thereafter came a win in their first major event, a life championship at The Six Hours of The Glen in 1969. A month last-minute Haywood was drafted to fight in Vietnam and, unlike too many others, manufactured it back home unscathed after a year at war.
Rather than simply pick up where he left off, he designated a new standard, all told claiming checkered flags in the 12 Hours of Sebring( twice ), the 24 Hours of Le Adult( three times) and in the 24 Hours of Daytona a record five times. He and Gregg proved to be a dynamic duo, the Batman and Robin of tenacity hastening.” I adoration the rush you got from move ,” Haywood says.” And from thumping people .”
And while keeping his head down and his paw firmly on the accelerator facilitated Haywood avoid serious doubts about his personal life, he couldn’t help but notice how fearless Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova had been while coming out during their careers.” These females are significantly sort of the headliners of that entire move ,” says Haywood, who nonetheless couldn’t see himself following in their steps.” I didn’t have any gay male role models. I had to deal with all that stuff myself, work through all the problems of what it would be like if I suddenly came out as lesbian. What would that do? Would I lose all my followers? Would I lose all my patrons ?”