Backroads And Barbecue: Detroit To Atlanta In a Porsche 911 Turbo

Hurley Haywood doesn't get out much, really.

I mean, he gets around. He gets around a lot. For instance, in just the three twenty-four-hour races he won at Le Mans, he and his two teammates racked up 8951 miles, an average of 2984 miles each. In his two twelve-hour Sebring wins, he completed 2449 miles with two teammates, each driver averaging 816 miles. His record five firsts at the 24 Hours of Daytona accumulated 12,960 total miles for him and his teammates, for another zillion blisteringly fast miles each. Now add thirty-three additional Daytonas, twenty-six more Sebrings, nine other Le Mans endurance races, and all the rest of the races in his storied forty-year career, and our friend has been around and around and around some more.

But he hasn't been out on the open road since he and I did the 1994 One Lap of America in a Porsche 911 and bonded forever. That was Hurley's first-ever cross-country road trip. It was also his last, and we still talk about it seventeen years later. So he was really overdue for a second roadgoing adventure, one that went somewhere other than into the pits for refueling and service.

Enter deputy editor Joe DeMatio with the cockamamie idea that I should repeat my very first Automobile Magazine road trip, a celebration of the Porsche 911 Turbo's return to America in 1986 after a six-year absence. I drove it from Detroit to Porsche headquarters in Reno, Nevada. The trip with Brit photographer Dougie Firth took five days, mostly due to horrendous weather that sent us to fourteen-below-zero Amarillo, Texas -- as far south as we could go and still reach Nevada. It was so cold that I pulled my nightgown from the suitcase and it was frozen stiff. One morning in Springfield, Missouri, we found the car encased in ice and needed buckets of hot water to get through to the door locks. The other standout memories of that adventure include visiting a cathouse in Nevada and a constant flirtation with driving on fumes.

I immediately thought of my favorite long-distance driver/traveling companion. Hurley was so game that he left his Deep South home for frigid Detroit. This was a week before his emergence from a one-year retirement to race in his thirty-eighth Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona for Brumos Porsche (with whom he won his first two Daytonas and where he's vice president).

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rwhyers
How about posting the 1994 article on the site? I'd love to read it again, but my archives suffered over the last 17 years.
von_Krag
One of the best stories I've ever read in a buff book. I felt like I was there as Hurley & you, Jean drove south. The video added a lot to the overall read. Thanks and I really do hope you two do that summer trip.

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