Remember when Brendon Hartley was merely a Porsche LMP1 driver in the FIA World Endurance Championship, before his future of a possible IndyCar bow and now actual Formula 1 bow arose?
It seems hard to believe just one month ago, before Hartley has now embarked on his first four weeks of crazy in October racing between IMSA, FIA WEC and Formula 1 all in consecutive weekends that Hartley was first and only a Porsche LMP1 driver.
That Hartley returns this weekend co-driving with Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhard in the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid as the trio looks to wrap the FIA WEC title at the 6 Hours of Shanghai. The trio failed to do so in the water-logged Fuji race last month, but still lead Toyota’s pair of Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi by 39 points (172-133) entering this weekend.
Hartley and Bernhard look to add a second FIA WEC championship to one they achieved co-driving with Mark Webber in 2015, while Bamber is in search of his first. Last year, it was Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb that wrapped the title.
Porsche will remain in high-downforce configuration this weekend and Hartley said that coupled with the Shanghai International Circuit’s characteristics will suit the car well.
“It’s a busy time for me at the moment and I feel really good and excited,” he said. “The most important thing is to focus on the very next target. In Shanghai, together with Earl and Timo, we definitely want to secure the drivers’ world championship title with our Porsche 919 Hybrid.
“The most recent six-hour race in Fuji didn’t bring the results we were aiming for. Shanghai is a circuit that should suit our car and we have to have everything lined up there perfectly.”
After Shanghai this weekend, Hartley will fly to Brazil for the Brazilian Grand Prix with Toro Rosso next weekend, then head back to the Middle East for the FIA WEC season finale in Bahrain and the Formula 1 finale in Abu Dhabi in successive weeks, to complete an incredible eight-week world tour.