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Hartley’s ELMS Path to Formula One

ELMS - 25/11/2017 - Jeff CARTER

Newly crowned FIA World Endurance Champion Brendon Hartley will take part in the final 2017 Formula One race in Abu Dhabi this weekend and the 28-year-old New Zealander has been confirmed at Scuderia Toro Rosso for the 2018 F1 season. Hartley made his mark in sportscar racing in the ELMS with LMP2 team Murphy Prototypes, scoring a podium finish on his debut at Spa in 2012.

After competing in F3, GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 Brendon Hartley’s single seater career effectively stalled at the end of 2011 and the former Red Bull Junior Drivers’ dream of racing in Formula One looked to be over. They always say that when one door closes, another opportunity arises, and this happened thanks to Greg Murphy. The Irish LMP2 team owner invited Brendon Hartley to race for Murphy Prototypes in the 2012 ELMS. 

Following the cancellation of the ELMS race at Zolder, which was to be Hartley’s debut, the team was invited to take part in the FIA World Endurance Championship race at Spa-Francorchamps. A frantic six-hour race saw Hartley finish on bottom step of the LMP2 podium on his sportscar debut alongside British drivers Warren Hughes and Jody Firth. This was followed by an entry for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but unfortunately the car didn’t reach the finish line. Another ELMS podium finish followed at Donington Park in July 2012.

In 2013, with the relaunch of the European Le Mans Series, Brendon Hartley once again signed for Murphy Prototypes alongside American Mark Patterson for the first two races at Silverstone and Imola and Swiss driver Jonathan Hirschi for the final three 3-hour encounters at Red Bull Ring, Hungaroring and Le Castellet. 

Success came in the final two races of the 2013 season with Hartley scoring a debut ELMS pole position in Hungary and finishing second in the race alongside Jonathan Hirschi.  At the season finale at Le Castellet Hartley and Hirschi took their debut victory for the Irish team, with Hartley finishing 5th in the drivers’ championship at the end of the season.

In 2014 Brendon Hartley was signed by Porsche for their LMP1 team and the Kiwi went on to secure two FIA World Endurance Driver Championships (2015/2017), take the overall victory at Le Mans in 2017 and help Porsche to three world manufacturer titles in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

This weekend in Abu Dhabi will be Brendon Hartley’s fourth F1 race for Toro Rosso in 2017 and, with Porsche withdrawing from LMP1, the 28-year-old Kiwi has been signed for the team for the 2018 season. 

After it seemed like his Formula One dream was over it was good to see Brendon Hartley bounce back and start a glittering sportscar career in the ELMS. Everyone in the ELMS paddock wishes Brendon Hartley the best of luck with the next stage of his racing career! 

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