Hartley to Race for Toro Rosso at Austin

15 October, 2017, 01:23 | Author: Gladys Mathis
  • Hartley to race for Toro Rosso in Austin

The 2015 WEC champion and reigning 24 Hours of Le Mans victor was confirmed to be racing at the Circuit of The Americas next weekend with Toro Rosso, seven years after being dropped from Red Bull's junior driver program, in place of Pierre Gasly, who is tied up with duties in Super Formula at Suzuka.

New Zealander Brendon Hartley is expected to be drafted into Toro Rosso's lineup for a one-off appearance next weekend in Austin.

Autosport magazine is reporting that 27-year-old Hartley is the favourite to replace Gasly for the race at the Circuit of Americas track and is in the frame to get a full-time drive at the team next year.

Since then, Hartley has raced in a variety of events, winning the 2015 World Endurance Championship - a series he again leads this year.

He previously tested for Toro Rosso back in 2009.

Hartley will take the seat of Pierre Gasly, who will turn out in the Asian Super Formula championship finale instead.

New Zealand's Brendon Hartley reacts in the pit.

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Hartley won Le Mans for the first time earlier this year with Bamber, who helped claim pole for the Fuji race and is on course to share the WEC title with his fellow Kiwi.

Last week he won the IMSA SportsCar Championship-closing Petit Le Mans race in an Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier-based Nissan Onroak Daytona Prototype worldwide. 'This opportunity came as somewhat of a surprise, but I never did give up on my ambition and childhood dream to reach F1.

Russian Kvyat has since returned to Toro Rosso and will partner Hartley in Texas, after Spaniard Carlos Sainz, who has scored 48 of the Red Bull second-string outfit's 52 points so far this season, left for Renault last week.

'I want to say a huge thanks to Red Bull for making this a reality, and to Porsche for allowing me to do this alongside the World Endurance Championship.

As well as testing for Toro Rosso, Hartley was reserve driver for Red Bull's two teams in 2009 and '10 as part of Red Bull's junior driver set-up. "I'm trying not to put too many expectations on my F1 debut, but I feel ready for it".

"I'm convinced he'll do a fantastic job for us".

Hartley, the first New Zealander to earn an F1 drive since Mike Thackwell in 1984, added: "What an wonderful feeling".

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