My top three LMP1 memories by Brendon Hartley
The upcoming 8 Hours of Bahrain will go down in history as the WEC bids farewell to the headline LMP1 category before the introduction of the highly-anticipated Hypercar class for WEC Season 9.
Over the years, the WEC has seen some exhilarating LMP1 battles between the likes of Porsche, Audi and Toyota and one driver who knows this all too well is New Zealand’s Brendon Hartley who won two FIA World Endurance Championship titles with Porsche in 2015 and 2017.
After a short stint in Formula 1, Hartley returned to sportscars to join Toyota Gazoo Racing for the 2019/2020 WEC season replacing Fernando Alonso in the No. 8 car. He played an instrumental part in helping the Japanese squad secure enough points to claim this year’s LMP1 FIA World Endurance Championship crown at the recent 24 Hours of Le Mans and is currently locked in a battle with the No. 7 car to take the drivers’ title. Read more about that HERE.
FIAWEC.com asked Hartley to name three of his favourite memories from his time in LMP1, here’s what he had to say:
Becoming World Champion in Bahrain 2015
“It was a crazy race which came down to the wire and we had to fight with a deteriorating engine issue right until the checkered flag. It was a real team effort with the Porsche team members having to pull the 919 into the garage to jam long nose pliers into the throttle bodies to get them open. We finished the race with a car that had zero or 100 percent throttle, nothing inbetween! Winning my first world championship with my buddies Mark [Webber] and Timo [Bernhard] was also very special.”
Winning Le Mans for the first time in 2017
“The race had big ups and downs like every Le Mans, and after spending more than 30 minutes in the garage with an issue, we fought hard until the very end to take the victory. There were lots of emotions on the podium and two nice side notes to the story is that I shared the car with Earl Bamber who I grew up racing with in NZ and even spent summers on his family farm. It’s quite crazy that we ended up celebrating a Le Mans victory 20 odd years later. My second memorable moment on the podium was that Mark, who Timo and I had formed such a strong bond with during the previous seasons, presented us with the Rolex. It was very cool he was with us on the podium, he was a huge part of the whole story with Porsche and it felt so fitting.”
Winning Le Mans for a second time in 2020 with Toyota
“Winning with a different manufacturer and different team-mates felt special. Everyone in the team has made me feel welcome and I have loved driving the TS050 around Le Mans. The other memorable point about the 2020 Le Mans was the absence of fans. I will never complain about the 90 minute autograph session, or how difficult it is to move in the paddock with so many fans ever again. We missed them. The fans are such a big part of what makes Le Mans so special and without them it lacked the eclectic atmosphere that we are so used too.”
Click HERE to read Sebastien Buemi’s top three LMP1 memories.