14 Oct 2017

Hartley to race F1 for Toro Rosso

3:18 pm on 14 October 2017

New Zealand driver Brendan Hartley will race for Toro Rosso at next week's US Formula One Grand Prix in Texas.

Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber win 2017 Le Mans.

Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber win 2017 Le Mans. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The team has released a statement confirming his appointment for that race only .

Hartley has been drafted in as replacement for Frenchman Pierre Gasly, who will be competing in the Super Formula Championship finale in Japan instead.

"What an amazing feeling," said the 27-year-old. "This opportunity came as somewhat of a surprise, but I never did give up on my ambition and childhood dream to reach F1.

"I have grown and learnt so much since the days when I was the Red Bull and Toro Rosso reserve driver, and the tough years I went through made me stronger and even more determined.

"The Austin track is one I really enjoy and one I have raced at recently. I'm trying not to put too many expectations on my F1 debut, but I feel ready for it."

Brendon Hartley

Brendon Hartley Photo: Supplied

Hartley is no stranger to Toro Rosso, having tested for the team back in 2009. As a former Red Bull junior driver, he was also test and reserve driver for the energy drinks company's two teams that year and 2010.

Hartley won at Le Mans with Porsche this year and is competing in the World Endurance Championship, a sportscar title he won in 2015.

Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost said Hartley's recent driving experiences, and success, made him top choice to step in for Gasly.

"Brendon is coming as the reigning 24h Le Mans winner and he's also leading the current FIA LMP1 World Endurance Championship, which he won in 2015 as well," said Tost.

"We are really happy to have him back in our team. With all the racing experience accumulated over the years, we are convinced that he will do a fantastic job for us."

Hartley will become the ninth New Zealander to race in F1, but the first since Mike Thackwell in 1984.