Brendon Hartley joins Toyota squad for a tilt at the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hour
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Those in the know will have speculated for quite some time that Formula 1 refugee Brendon Hartley wasn't go too long without securing some kind of blue-chip drive in the international sports-car racing scene.
Well, that time's come. The Kiwi ace has joined with Toyota.
After competing for the Japanese manufacturer's formerly fierce LMP1 rival Porsche, it's been confirmed that Hartley will join the team for the 2019–'20 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season.
“I know how professional and motivated this team is following my years competing against them in WEC, so I'm fired up and very happy to be joining them.
"I believe I am returning to WEC an even stronger driver following my experience in F1 and I look forward to getting on track and building a strong relationship with my new team."
Hartley slips into the squad as a partial replacement for outgoing driver Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard, having won the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year, now looks set to join one of Toyota's other divisions.
The announcement places Hartley in hallowed ground. While the former Toro Rosso driver is out of a Formula 1 seat, he can count himself as one of the rare few drivers, past or present, that has held factory roles for multiple manufacturers simultaneously.
In his case, he's still a signed driver with Porsche, as well as being a simulator pilot for Ferrari.
The upcoming WEC season kicks off on September 1 with the 4 Hours of Silverstone, with Hartley making his Toyota Le Mans debut on June 13-14, 2020. Hartley will be Toyota's reserve driver for the 2019 Le Mans event, which commences next month.