Hartley will stay contracted to Porsche
Brendon Hartley will continue to have a contractual relationship with Porsche despite being announced as one of Scuderia Toro Rosso’s 2018 drivers.
Hartley has driven a Porsche LMP1 since 2014, winning two drivers’ championships and the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours.
He went hunting for another ride when Porsche announced that it would step out of LMP1 and seemed set to line up in IndyCar with Chip Ganassi Racing before landing a one-off start with STR that has parlayed into a full-time F1 deal.
Asked during Porsche LMP1 team’s farewell WEC weekend in Bahrain whether the 2018 STR deal affected Hartley’s status with Porsche, team principal Andreas Seidl told Autosport, “Not really. Obviously we will put some limitations in terms of what he can do for us, because he will have quite a busy schedule.
“But with the history we have built together, we definitely want to continue.
“The program within Porsche motorsport is huge, and there will be plenty of opportunities also for Brendon within the Porsche family also in the next years.”
While its LMP1 program folded in favour of a Formula E entry slated for 2019-20, Porsche will retain a presence in the WEC through its GT program.
It also fields works GT entries in the US-based IMSA SportsCar Championship.
Asked whether Hartley could appear for Porsche in GT racing, Seidl said, “Yeah, or using him in tribute stuff with the 919 Hybrid and so on.”
He explained Hartley would have the same status as fellow Porsche LMP1 drivers Andre Lotterer and Neel Jani, who will remain “under contract as works drivers” while racing for Techeetah and Dragon respectively in Formula E.
Hartley said he has not yet “had the chance to think about” any sportscar outings alongside his F1 commitments.
Asked whether he was interested in continuing with a Porsche racing program too, he said, “100%, but I don’t want to comment. First year in F1 there’s going to be a lot for me to learn.
“I would race every weekend of the year if I could but F1 is the priority.”
Hartley and Timo Bernhard have qualified the #2 Porsche third on the grid for the final race of the 2017 World Endurance Championship, which starts at midnight (AEDT).