New Zealand racing car driver Brendon Hartley's resolve to become a professional, full-time motor racing driver paid off yesterday when he announced he had been signed by Porsche to race their new 919 Hybrid LMP1 sports car.

After parting ways with the Red Bull Junior Development squad, the 24-year-old turned to sports car racing and soon secured a seat with Murphy Prototypes racing an LMP2 car in the European Le Mans series.

He was also doing duty in a Daytona Prototype for Starworks Motorsport in the American Grand Am series.

Never short of talent, Hartley notched up a win on both sides of the Atlantic and after a great debut at Le Mans, came to the attention of Porsche.


The German manufacturer is returning to endurance racing in 2014 after a 16-year hiatus, and after casting around for talent settled on the Kiwi, signing him up alongside Mark Webber, Neel Jani, Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb.

"I've had some good and bad times in Europe, but this [Porsche signing] makes it all worthwhile," said Hartley. "When I started racing sports cars it was a dream of mine to drive for one of the most successful endurance racing teams, and to be able to race at Le Mans in a Porsche is fantastic."

One of doyens of New Zealand motorsport, Sir Colin Giltrap, reckons Hartley is in one of the best places a young endurance driver can be.

"I think it's terrific and it's wonderful to have a Kiwi in one of best sports car teams in the world," said Sir Colin.

"Sports car racing is on the up-and-up and Brendon is in the perfect position with its growing popularity, and now that Formula One is losing its way a bit he's in the best position."