Howden Haynes brought the curtain down on a tremendously successful career with Audi Sport Team Joest in the final round of this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship in Brazil on Sunday.
The Six Hours of Sao Paulo in which Audi recorded third and fifth placings, marked his 100th race with either factory or customer Audi teams over an 11-year period.
The 36-year-old from Brackley, Northamptonshire, spent eight years engineering the Audi of outgoing world sports car champion Allan McNish who himself retired almost 12 months ago.
Haynes took on the role of technical director Audi Sport Team Joest this year and helped the German manufacturer claim its 13th triumph in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
“I have accomplished all of my personal goals,” confirmed Haynes. “São Paulo marked my 100th race representing the Audi brand alone. With this achievement and the win at Le Mans this year as technical director, I feel satisfied that this is the right time for me to hang up my stop watch and let the new generation take over.
“I shall now focus my attention on my family and business at home in the UK rather than in Germany. I must thank Audi’s Head of Motorsport, Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, and Reinhold Joest, of Joest Racing, for the chance to have had such a successful career with them.
“Additional thanks go to Jo Hausner and Ralf Jüttner who have been instrumental in my career progression for over the last decade.”
The former University of Wales Mechanical Engineering graduate joined Brackley-based Audi Sport Team Veloqx in 2004. As either the No1 or an assistant engineer, “his” Audi scored two Le Mans triumphs, three American Le Mans Series championship titles – and a total of 33 race wins.
Having put his highly successful Le Mans prototype and World Endurance championship career ahead of his family for over 15 years, “H” has decided to re prioritize.
Howden continued: “Having missed my daughters birth whilst at Sebring in 2007 and putting my racing career ahead of everything for a long time now, I have decided that I need to reprioritise and put my family and business in the UK as my new priorities for 2015. This year was the first time I have ever been home to celebrate my daughter’s birthday. It was time to re-address my priorities!
“I have endured a huge amount of success during my long and prosperous career at Audi Sport and Joest Racing. I have worked with many legendary drivers and many iconic racing cars. We have won a huge amount of races and championships together. It has been impressive to see the development in technology over the years.
“Since the retirements of Allan [McNish] and his long-time co-driver Dindo Capello, combined with the recent changes in regulations, I have found myself contemplating my future and deciding whether or not I fit in this new era of sports car racing.”
Haynes will now concentrate fully on his Progressive Motorsport business that was formed in 2009 and that recently moved into 25,500 sq. ft workshops in Brackley.
The race in Brazil also signaled the last WEC race for “Great Dane” Tom Kristensen, the record nine-time Le Mans 24 Hours race winner. Kristensen, who announced his retirement from professional racing recently, brought his career to an end with third place along with co-drivers Lucas di Grassi and Loïc Duval.