Porsche is celebrating its 50th year participating in the IMSA SportsCar Championship. Back in 1971, the first event was held and Porsche was at the forefront battling a Corvette with a flat-six-powered 914/6 GT. Piloted by racing veteran Hurley Haywood and Peter “Perfect” Gregg, the car picked up the win in the very first IMSA Grand Touring race after the Corvette went off track and was forced to pit to repair damages.
For the last 50 years, Porsche has been part of every IMSA racing event held and holds the most wins among manufacturers at 581. That also includes two class wins (GTLM and GTD) at the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring. Hurley Haywood drove for Porsche after returning from Vietnam in 1970 and continued to drive for the brand even during active duty, piloting the Brumos Racing 914/6 GT in 1971, participating at the Daytona, and Sebring races that year. The Danville 300 that April would put Haywood and Gregg on the map, earning the pole position for the GTU class and winning the overall events, beating more powerful vehicles in the GTO class. However, that didn’t come without getting attention as word of their win eventually spread nationally.
The car that Haywood and Gregg drove to victory eventually became a legend on its own. Porsche’s 914/6 GT is now a favorite among enthusiasts at vintage events whether it’s on or off the track. Its mid-engine layout has been echoed in the modern Porsche lineup through the 718 family, which includes the Cayman coupe and the Boxster roadster. Porsche Experience Center Atlanta (PEC ATL) currently has the winning vehicle as part of its Rooted in Racing Exhibit in the Porsche Heritage Gallery. The car is a permanent part of the Brumos Collection in Jacksonville, Florida, and was lent to PEC ATL.