Brendon Hartley

LMP1

“I had the best teachers in the world,” says Brendon Hartley of the past three years with Timo Bernhard and Mark Webber. The New Zealander came into the Porsche LMP1 programme as a fledgling for the 2014 season. Even his entrance was original: an unsolicited application by email to the team manager. “Being allowed to compete for the overall victory in Le Mans as a Porsche works driver, it’s so huge, I can hardly find the words,” says the 2015 world champion. “Winning there with this brand is my ultimate goal.”

At the age of 25, Hartley became part of an unequal trio: Bernhard was the Porsche man and well-established endurance pro. Webber had 215 Formula 1 Grand Prix and nine wins under his belt. Youth, experience, celebrity – everything was thrown into a pot unreservedly, mixed together with the indisputable speed of all three drivers, and out came a particular blend, known as friendship. Hartley shed tears when Webber stepped down. He came to maturity in this triumvirate. Hair trimmed; wings grown.

When he first turned up in Formula 1 in 2008, with his blonde mane and baggy jeans, he looked more like a budding rock star than a test driver. In fact he does play guitar, but beneath the 19-year-old’s cool outfit was a shy person with 13 years of racing experience. He started karting at the age of six, inspired by his father Bryan. Brendon’s big brother Nelson, named after Nelson Piquet, was ten when Brendon was allowed to drive for the first time. The older boy was faster, and the younger can still today recall the sleepless night that followed. “Ever since then I knew I loved racing and knew of the desire I had inside to win.”

In his home country of New Zealand, Brendon Hartley got into formula racing. He grew up in Palmerston North on the North Island and drove in the same kart club as his new team mate Earl Bamber – there are adorable photos of the two of them on the farm. Following series wins in the Formula Ford and further successes, it was clear that he lived at the wrong end of the world for a continuing career. At the age of 16 he jumped in at the deep end. He set up camp in the east of Germany and drove in the German and European Championships in the Formula Renault 2.0; in 2007 he won the World Series by Renault. A formative time in a foreign country and in the tough talent factory of Red Bull.

In 2008, he managed to pull off a stunning feat at the Formula 3 Grand Prix in Macau: Position 20 on the grid, third over the finish line, fastest lap. All the same, he was flabbergasted when the call came from Red Bull asking if he could stand in for the injured Webber in a Formula 1 test. And he did well. 83 laps are an ordeal for a neck being exposed to these levels of force for the first time. He moved from Germany to Milton Keynes, where they at least spoke his language.

He held a Formula 1 contract up to and including the year 2013 – first as a test driver for Red Bull Racing, and then for the Mercedes team. He was much valued for his simulator work. But a racing driver has to drive races. In 2012, his second career in endurance racing gathered speed. The European Le Mans Series, Grand Am, Bathurst 12 Hour, 24 Hours of Daytona and in Le Mans. “The first time I drove a race wearing Porsche overalls in 2014, I almost burst with pride,” recalls the tall New Zealander. “Becoming world champion with Mark and Timo was huge. But winning the Le Mans with Porsche is still to come.”

Personal info

Date of Birth: 10th November 1989
Place of Birth: Palmerston North (NZ)
Nationality: New Zealander
Residence: Monaco (MC)
Height/weight: 1.84 m/65 kg
Hobbies: mountain biking and road cycling
Internet: www.brendonhartley.nz
Twitter: @BrendonHartley
Le Mans starts: 5

Brendon Hartley competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), including the Le Mans 24 Hours, in a Porsche 919 Hybrid for Porsche.

Career

2017

Porsche works driver WEC, LMP1;
overall victory Dubai 24 Hours (Porsche 911 GT 3 R);
17th overall Daytona 24 Hours (Nissan prototype)

2016

Porsche works driver WEC, LMP1
4th Drivers’ World Championship with Bernhard/Webber,
4 wins (Nürburgring, Mexico City, Austin, Shanghai)
2 pole positions (Spa, Shanghai)

2015

Porsche works driver WEC, LMP1
Drivers’ World Champion with Bernhard/Webber,
4 wins (Nürburgring, Austin, Fuji, Shanghai),
4 pole positions, 2nd at Le Mans

2014 Porsche works driver WEC, LMP1
3rd Silverstone, Fuji and Bahrain
2013 European Le Mans Series (LMP2)
Grand Am Series
Le Mans 24 Hours (LMP2)
Bathurst 12 Hours
Daytona 24 Hours
Formula One simulator development driver (Mercedes AMG Petronas)
2012 3rd Spa (WEC, LMP2)
3rd Donington (ELMS, LMP2)
GP2 (2 races)
Formula One simulator development driver (Mercedes AMG Petronas)
2011 World Series by Renault 3.5 (4 podiums)
5th Spa (GP2)
2010 Formula One reserve driver (Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Toro Rosso)
World Series by Renault 3.5
GP2 (2 races)
2009 Formula One test driver (Scuderia Toro Rosso)
World Series by Renault 3.5
Formula 3 Euro Series (1 win)
Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix
2008 Formula One test driver (Red Bull Racing)
3rd British Formula 3 Championship (5 wins, 12 podium finishes, 5 poles)
3rd Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix (also set fastest lap)
5th Zandvoort Formula 3 Masters
2007 Winner World Series by Renault Eurocup 2.0 (5 wins, 13 podium finishes, 7 poles)
3rd Italian Formula Renault 2.0 series
4th Zandvoort Formula 3 Masters
Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix
2006 Winner Dan Higgins Memorial Trophy, New Zealand Toyota Racing Series, New Zealand
2005 Winner of the first ever Toyota Racing Series race in New Zealand
Winner of the Elite Motorsport Academy Award, New Zealand
2004 Awarded with the Steel Trophy, New Zealand
2003/04 2nd New Zealand Formula Ford Championship (6 wins)
Winner Formula Ford Winter Series (7 wins)
Youngest ever winner of a Formula Ford race (23rd November 2003)
2002-2003 Karting