He subsequently became a top LMP1 sports vehicle driver for the works Porsche team, and was a teammate of Mark Webber's as he won the 2015 world endurance championship. He will make his debut alongside the returning Daniil Kvyat, who had been stood-down by the team at the last two races. On Friday, the team confirmed he will do the latter, giving Hartley a remarkable opportunity at a Formula One debut.
"What an fantastic feeling!" said Hartley, who won the Le Mans 24 Hours this season and was world sportscar champion in 2015. Hartley said in the official press release. I want to say a huge thanks to Red Bull for making this a reality, and to Porsche for allowing me to do this alongside the World Endurance Championship.
"[Brendon] has been part of the Red Bull family for a long time in different classes, as well as the test and reserve driver for Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso, will now be back racing for us in Austin".
The 27-year-old will be the first Kiwi to contest a race since 1985.
Lewis Hamilton also sits among the best paid, with the Mercedes driver on a basic yearly salary of £20.9m ($38m), although win bonuses could see him take home up to £28m ($40m).
His elevation to a drive for Austin is further proof Toro Rosso is unconvinced about its line-up for next season. You'll note that the other driver can't be Kvyat: he has already returned in the other auto, having replaced Carlos Sainz Jr, who went off to Renault as part of a new engine deal between Honda and the two teams.
Not since Mike Thackwell in 1984 has a Kiwi driven on motorsport's biggest stage but that could change in the next fortnight with Le Mans 24 Hour victor Brendon Hartley looming as a serious contender for the vacant Toro Rosso seat at next week's US Grand Prix.
Hartley is set to race in the WEC round in Japan this weekend where he could secure the title.
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