Legends: HANS, Hurley, and Easton!

“Legends” is often overused, however over the last three weeks I got to see three that are truly worthy of the word.

Legend 1) HANS, or more accurately H.A.N.S., as in Head And Neck Support, was co-invented by Jim Downing and his brother-in-law Dr. Robert Hubbard. Jim’s persistence over 10-15 years, punctuated by Senna and Earnhardt crashes, finally lead to the worldwide acceptance of the life-saving device that we all now take for granted. Each of us has probably seen a racing incident where the driver was saved by their HANS, and likely knows of an even more personal story about how it made all the difference. I know I do.

Everyone that races or watches racing owes this legend, Jim Downing, big thanks. (Paul Kudra photo)

Graced by this mild winter, three weeks ago I helped a long-time friend drive two large enclosed trailers to Atlanta to take advantage of Jim’s smart decision to sell his cutting-edge prototype race car and all of the body molds and spare parts needed to campaign it. Getting to meet Jim was a gift worth the long drive. The wisdom of eighty plus laps around the sun helped him decide it was time to find a new caretaker of the car. His spry fitness and tack sharp acuity would easily fool anyone about the length of his journey. I saw mixed emotion on his face as he climbed into and out of his car one last time. What a privilege to spend a morning chatting with him and his team as they explained the special care-and-feeding of the beast and all the amazing technology and development work that went into it. Owning such a special vehicle is best left to those like my friend with 40 + years of designing and fabricating his own sports-racers. Having a healthy dose of aerospace background helps a lot to understand the intricacies of the rocket science used. Having a National Drivers Championship title and being a paid driving coach are also helpful to understand and optimize the driving dynamics. Thank you Jim for your achievements.

The man, the car, and now the museum. The Haywood legend keeps getting better. (Paul Kudra photo)

Legend 2) Hurley Haywood is clearly a top racing legend but the new Brumos museum in Jacksonville Florida extends that to untold enthusiasts. Two weeks ago I had the rare opportunity to experience that hallowed ground at a recent meeting of PCA leaders. Having previously met Hurley himself a few times, and even having him grace two of my original artworks with his signature, I really enjoyed the evening tour and dinner. Adding the company of many friends made it even more memorable. If you ever get the chance to visit, never pass it up.

Instant legend, the 2023 GT3RS. I didn’t want to get out! (Paul Kudra photo)

Legend 3) The Porsche Training Center in Easton PA may be familiar to some as the East Coast home of Tech Tactics, an event started by CVR several decades ago that has now “gone National”. Now run by PCA itself, the event held one week ago skillfully carried on the technical focus and ambiance that made the event a legend in the first place. Even though this year’s event didn’t have the any famed Porsche racer or Porsche factory giant like in the past, it did have two new cars that have become instant legends. Getting to sit in the 2023 GT3RS and see the amazing details of the new “Roughroads” 911 showed how special they are. Sharing the 4:30 a.m. day-trip drive with a good friend, and seeing other CVR faithful there, made for a great day. Taking second place in the scale model car concours event with my incredibly detailed 917-30 let me share it with enthusiasts and added an extra touch of fun.

Not such a rough road after all. Tech Tactics was a nice day trip that shows the event is in good hands with PCA. (Paul Kudra photo).

All of these trips have one thing in common – you guessed it: “It’s not just the cars…it’s the people.” Yes, the cars are the magnet, but they wouldn’t have become such legends without the people that made them and the people that keep that passion alive. Becoming an active part of “the people” is your best way to experience some amazing legendary events for yourself. The past three weeks have reinforced that more than ever. The 2023 CVR AutoX Calendar should be posted later this month and offers you that opportunity.   


  1. Frank Sena

    Terrific article, Paul! Uniquely informative, well articulated and great photos.

  2. Jean Francois Bulycz

    Well done Paul!
    I recognize No 59, the Bruno’s car, but my favorite legend, HH, is nowhere to be seen.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *