What started as a Kickstarter project more than three years ago to document the history between racing legends Hurley Haywood and the late Peter Gregg has evolved into something much more, and arguably more important to this generation of motorsports fans and those involved in the industry.
Released on Tuesday, the feature-length documentary “Hurley” not only chronicles Haywood’s illustrious career in sports car racing but also reveals his once-guarded personal life away from the track, amid the masculine-dominant sport.
Haywood, a five-time overall Rolex 24 at Daytona and three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, publicly came out as gay in his autobiography “Hurley from the Beginning” that was released last year.
This 82-minute documentary, featuring executive producer Patrick Dempsey, sheds light into the struggles and sacrifices Haywood was faced with in his days as a championship-winning driver through the 1970s and 80s, where he could have been disowned by fans, sponsors and potentially even manufacturers during that turbulent era.
While Haywood kept his personal life to himself at that time, the film shows his rise to international fame and also his relationship with Brumos owner Gregg, whom Haywood called a friend and mentor.
There’s also additional insight into Gregg’s bi-polar-like personality on and off the track that ultimately led to his suicide in 1980, which sent shockwaves through the motorsports world.
Haywood not only helps set the record straight on Gregg, but also opens up on his own personal life that he’s held close to his chest for more than 35 years.
Among those interviewed include Dempsey, Gregg’s son, Simon, Jim Busby, Patrick Long and JC France, as well as Haywood’s husband, Steve, and their friends and family.
The film asks the question whether motorsports is ready for openly LGBT drivers?
In seeing Haywood’s courage for publicly coming out, it could hopefully help others in the sport that are coping with similar secrets and challenges.