Not content with his Le Mans 24 Hours win, Brendon Hartley has also taken a second world endurance title, triumphed in an American endurance classic, finished the season with a drive in Formula One and already had his full-time F1 seat confirmed for 2018.
For Brendon Hartley and teammates Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhard, the 24 Hours of Le Mans came as the first of four straight wins (Le Mans then Nürburgring, Mexico and the Circuit of the Americas), ensuring them the drivers’ championship title by the penultimate round of the season at Shanghai.
On 7 October, a month before taking his second world title, Brendon Hartley became the fifth driver in endurance history to win both the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Petit Le Mans, the American endurance grande finale, in the same season. He thus joined a very select club, alongside Tom Kristensen, Dindo Capello, Allan McNish and Nick Tandy. Two weeks later, he made his Formula One debut
Porsche’s announcement to withdraw from the LMP1 class prompted the New-Zealander to get in touch with Helmut Marko, head of the Red Bull driver development programme (which Hartley had previously followed himself) and former 24 Hours of Le Mans winner (1971). Marko offered Hartley a Formula One seat in Scuderia Toro Rosso, the team that trains young F1 drivers for Red Bull.
So, between Petit Le Mans and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (26 November), Brendon Hartley competed in four endurance races and as many Grand Prix events, while clinching his second world title.
Hartley came to endurance via LMP2 in the European Le Mans Series in 2012 (with a victory in 2013). Now aged 28, after four seasons as a Porsche LMP1 driver, he has 12 victories (including the 24 Hours of Le Mans) under his belt and two World Endurance Championship crowns. His relentless race schedule over the last few weeks harks back to the 1960-70s (and even early 1980s) when trailblazing drivers would hop from one discipline to another, in a different country each weekend. And just like them, Hartley has earned himself a prominent place in the history of the 24 Hours and endurance racing.
Photo: Before the start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2017, Brendon Hartley (left) was the only one of the six Porsche LMP1 drivers not to have triumphed in the French endurance classic. He finally took his maiden victory after an impressive fight back with teammates Timo Bernhard (centre) and Earl Bamber (right).