Hartley features at Goodwood
As a contrast to high pressure driving stints of three hours plus duration at the recent Le Mans 24 Hours, the latest Porsche driving assignment for Kiwi Brendon Hartley has been a 1.86km hillclimb.
The 25-year-old from Palmerston North was on Porsche driving duty during Saturday’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in England, demonstrating this year’s Le Mans winning Porsche 919 Hybrid of team-mates Earl Bamber, Nico Hulkenberg and Nick Tandy for about 50,000 fans at the West Sussex venue.
Hartley has become a regular at the Festival and says he enjoys its relaxed atmosphere and multi-faceted celebration of motor sports.
"This is my fourth or fifth time at Goodwood,’’ he said on Saturday.
"I love coming back here each year. There’s heroes from the past, current Formula 1 drivers, current prototype drivers and motorbike riders from all around the world in such a relaxed environment.
"Last year I drove some classic Porsches including a 962 and the RS Spyder which won the American Le Mans Series.
"This year I get to drive the current 919 up the hill which is very cool. All of the fans are super excited to see the race winning car and we didn’t bring a 919 here last year so it’s a good feeling to come here with so many enthusiastic people around.’’
For Hartley the hillclimb run is only thing resembling a competitive drive in the car between the recent Le Mans 24 Hours race and the next round of the World Endurance Championship at Germany’s Nurburgring on August 30.
"Since Le Mans we’ve had some celebrations and I’ve had a few PR events. I’ve been in Japan and Austria but it’s really straight back to work and focus on the next round,’’ he said.
"It’s a long break but the work doesn’t stop. The development continues, there’s new aero parts coming and development through the rest of the season because we can be sure our competitors will be doing the same.
"I’ve got a lot of training and I’ll be back at the factory for a couple of simulator days and we’ve got quite a bit of testing before the next round.’’
Brendon Hartley. Picture/Supplied.
Hartley feels the first win in the World Championship with driving partners Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard isn’t far away.
"We’ve still got a big fight on our hands for the World Endurance Championship,’’ he said.
"For car 17 we had a DNF at Silverstone but now we’re back in the mix after getting very good points at Le Mans.
"As a team we’re very strong and work well together and are very positive for the rest of the year.
"We’ve had pole positions at Sao Paulo at the end of last year and at Silverstone and Spa this year and led every race but the win has eluded us. We’re sure we’re going to get it soon.’’
Hartley says he enjoys the challenges of racing the highly sophisticated modern endurance prototypes.
"The car is revolutionary and it really is the sports car of the future. We’re developing technology that you will see in Porsche road cars in the next few years.’’
The level of interest in endurance at home in New Zealand has surprised Hartley.
"I’ve heard through friends and family about people who watched 14 or 15 hours of Le Mans this year.
"People are genuinely interested and I hope that continues through the World Endurance Championship and that people will continue to watch and support us.’’
More pictures from Saturday's events at Goodwood:
Former world rally champion Hannu Mikkola drives an Audi quattro S1 up the Goodwood course. Picture/Colin Smith
Kiwi drift ace "Mad Mike'' Whiddett putting on a show for the Goodwood fans with his four-rotor Mazda RX7. Picture/Colin Smith.
1970s Formula 1 racer Jochen Mass took the wheel of a 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 Streamliner. Picture/Colin Smith.
Ferrari test driver Marc Gene steers a 2010 vintage Ferrari F10 Formula 1 racer between the straw bales at Goodwood. Picture/Colin Smith.