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Value Le Mans victory more than F1 seat or WEC title: Brendon Hartley

Brendon Hartley’s career has seen an incredible rise in the last one month after he signed with F1 team Toro Rosso before the United States Grand Prix. Following that he also went on to win the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship

other sports Updated: Nov 18, 2017 23:16 IST
Sandip Sikdar
Le Mans,Formula 1,Brendon Hartley
Brendon Hartley has signed with Formula 1 team Toro Rosso.(AFP)

It is not often that a modern day driver gets to race in more than one category. But in that rare class falls Brendon Hartley, who races not just in Formula 1 but also in FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).

The New Zealander’s career has seen an incredible rise in the last one month after he signed with F1 team Toro Rosso before the United States Grand Prix. Following that he also went on to win the 2017 WEC title, his second crown after also triumphing with Porsche in 2015.

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But ask the 28-year-old whether he prizes his F1 seat or WEC crown more, he says neither.

“It is a difficult question to answer but I think the biggest moment of my career is definitely winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” Hartley told Hindustan Times in an interview.

The prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world’s oldest active sports car race in endurance racing, held annually since 1923 in France. Hartley, along with Porsche Le Mans Prototype (LMP) teammates Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber, won the 2017 edition on June 17-18 at Circuit de la Sarthe.

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“This is something that lives on forever. Formula 1 probably wouldn’t have happened if I would not have been able to stand on the top step of the podium with my Porsche teammates,” added Hartley.

But switching between F1 and WEC in the last month means that the Le Mans winner has had a crazy travelling schedule which looks like this: Japan-USA-Mexico-China-Brazil-Bahrain and in a week’s time Abu Dhabi – quite literally travelling the globe back and forth in one month.

“Yeah it has been busy, lots of time zone changes but I probably have been fuelled on adrenaline by Red Bull,” said Hartley.

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Hartley was a test and reserve driver or Red Bull and its sister team Toro Rosso for 2009-10 and will be driving for the latter in 2018.

“But I am happy with our deal. There have been a few times when I have been a bit flat and down on energy but it is not hard to get motivated when you are switching between LMP1 and Formula 1,” said the reigning WEC title holder.

The Kiwi added another feather in his cap on Thursday after extending his contract with Toro Rosso till the end of 2018.

“It’s very satisfying to have converted an opportunity that came as a surprise into a 2018 F1 drive, I couldn’t be happier. Really amazing to be confirmed as a Formula 1 driver for next year with Toro Rosso,” said Hartley.

“I’m now going to carry on working harder than ever in order to finish this busy end of season on a high and start the New Year as strong as possible.”

First Published: Nov 18, 2017 23:16 IST