Brumos Porsche; a look back circa 1979 / 1980

With Brumos Porsche celebrating a season championship win in this years Rolex series GT class with their Porsche GT3,  I thought it would be interesting to take a photographic look back at the Brumos team ( as led by the late Peter Gregg), and two IMSA series races in particular that occurred during the 1979 and 1980 seasons, both held at the now defunct Riverside Raceway in Southern California.

But first, a little back-story.  I first became aware of Brumos Porsche in 1973, fresh on the heels of the teams overall race win at the 24 hours of Daytona. Their weapon of choice had been the brand new Porsche 911 RSR, driven by Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood. Armed with my issues of Road & Track magazine, and the Porsche Club of America’s monthly publication, Panorama, I studied each magazines coverage of the Daytona race, especially the details regarding the winning Brumos Porsche. I quickly became a fan of the team and felt a connection, being a new owner of a 1966 Porsche 911, purchased in 1972. From that time forward, I continued to educate myself in all things Porsche, which included learning more about the Porsche brand and its impressive racing history, as well as following the 911’s  ongoing participation and success in the motorsports arena.  I also continued to follow Brumos Porsche’s racing efforts  with the Porsche 911 RSR’s, in addition to the teams expanding vehicle base, which came to include the new Porsche 917/10 (initially driven by Peter Gregg, but later assigned full-time to Hurley Haywood), and ultimately campaigning one of my favorites, the Porsche 935.

Brumos 935, Riverside Raceway_Apr79

I remember reading articles about Brumos Porsche, and multiple biographies on both Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood. However, at the time it was Peter Gregg who was the face of Brumos Porsche;  not only as the team leader and race strategist, but also lead driver. All of this was in addition to his day-to-day responsibilities of running the Jacksonville, Florida  Brumos Porsche dealership. I recall many of the articles of the day describing Peter Gregg as a successful businessman/race driver with an intensity that bordered on obsessive, and who strived for perfection in all aspect of Brumos Porsche’s racing efforts. This was also true of his time spent behind the wheel of a race car. I recall him being called “Peter Perfect”, due to these particular traits. This was clearly evident by how the Brumos team operated at the racetrack; it showed in how well prepared their car was rolling off of their trailer, or maintained and presented throughout the entire race weekend. I remember reading that he was also a brilliant race strategist, so much so that he was known to have studied and altered existing pit strategies while still behind the wheel of the race car, and would then radio in to the team to discuss his newly revised strategy. There were also however, accounts of him having a darker side, one which was highly intolerant of anyone who did not perform or live up to his expectations.

My personal observations however during race weekends were of a very focused, smooth and highly consistent driver on track.  I watched through my telephoto lens as he cranked off lap after lap, hitting the same, precise apex as on his previous lap, as well as his ability to maintain consistent braking points. This became even more impressive to witness, when compared against many of his competitors, whose lines through the turns would vary considerably with each lap, even when traffic was not an issue. Ironically, one of the only other drivers that could match Peter Gregg’s consistency was Hurley Haywood, who happened to be driving for another Porsche Racing team that particular weekend.

Brumos 935, Riverside raceway_Apr79
Brumos  935,Peter Gregg portrait, riverside raceway _Apr80
Ironically, in December 1980 with the untimely passing of Peter Gregg, it was Hurley Haywood who then became recognized as the racing ambassador for Brumos Porsche, and who went on to amass an incredible record of endurance racing wins  behind the wheel of a multitude of different Porsche racing cars,  including the Porsche 956, and its IMSA counterpart, the Porsche 962.

All photos were taken during the Los Angeles Times Grand Prix of Endurance, at Riverside Raceway in 1979 and 1980.

Brumos Porsche 935, Riverside raceway ,pits_Apr79

Brumos Porsche 935, Riverside raceway _Apr80Brumos Porsche 935, Riverside Raceway _Apr80Brumos Porsche 935, Riverside Raceway _Apr80Brumos  935, Riverside Raceway _Apr80Brumos  935, Riverside Raceway _Apr80Brumos  935, Peter Gregg & Al Holbert _Apr80Brumos  935, Riverside Raceway _Apr80Brumos  935,Peter  Gregg &  Al Holbert _Apr80I’m still a fan of Brumos Porsche, and of Hurley Haywood, and how ironic that the teams championship win this year, came with a car whose DNA is closely linked to that of the original 911 RSR in which Gregg and Haywood drove to victory back in 1973.

So Brumos Porsche, here’s to another successful 2012 Rolex GT series.

(All photos by the author)