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Hartley feels ready for ‘dream’ F1 debut with Toro Rosso

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Brendon Hartley feels ready to make his surprise Formula 1 debut with Toro Rosso in next weekend’s United States Grand Prix, believing his time with Porsche in the FIA World Endurance Championship has prepared him suitably.

Seven years after being dropped from Red Bull’s junior program, Hartley was confirmed to be stepping in at Toro Rosso for the United States GP in place of Pierre Gasly, who is required to take part in the Super Formula finale at Suzuka.

The 2015 WEC drivers’ champion and 2017 Le Mans winner is under no illusions of the task ahead, having not taken part in an official F1 test for over five years.

“As soon as this weekend is over, the full focus goes onto a big, new challenge next week. There’s a lot to learn in one week,” Hartley said as quoted by Sportscar365.

“I feel ready for it, honestly. This program has taught me a lot. Working with guys like Mark [Webber], Timo [Bernhard] and Earl [Bamber], in such a good project where we’re at the forefront of technology and part of development.

“It’s going to be a busy week for me, but I’m really looking forward to it.”

Hartley’s sudden F1 chance came about after Renault completed the early signing of Carlos Sainz Jr. from Toro Rosso and circumstances changed regarding Gasly’s availability.

“It’s happened quite quickly. I had quite a bit on my mind over the last week and especially at Petit Le Mans as well,” Hartley said.

“It’s an amazing opportunity. It’s going to be a dream come true. I’ve thought about that moment since I was a little kid. I’m glad to represent the WEC. I’m looking forward to it.

“I’m going to embrace it and most importantly I’m going to try and enjoy it.”

The call-up comes as the latest act in a surreal 2017 for Hartley, who is poised to wrap up a second WEC drivers’ title on Sunday just one week after winning Petit Le Mans.