Brendon Hartley will replace Fernando Alonso at Toyota Gazoo Racing for the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship season.
It will be the Kiwi’s fifth full season of WEC competition, following on from a successful spell with Porsche in LMP1 between 2014-17 that delivered 12 race wins, the 2015 and 2017 FIA WEC titles and the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours win before he departed to race in F1 with Toro Rosso in 2018.
“A big thanks to Toyota Gazoo Racing for giving me this opportunity,” said Hartley. “I know how professional and motivated this team is following my years competing against them in WEC, so I am fired up and am very happy to be joining them.
“I believe I am returning to WEC an even stronger driver following my experience in Formula 1, and I look forward to getting on track and building a strong relationship with my new team. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the TS050 HYBRID; the first tests can’t come soon enough.”
Alonso meanwhile, will depart Toyota’s LMP1 effort after a single season, with a Le Mans victory already under his belt, and the chance to win a second next month, along with the drivers’ title, before moving on.
He will remain aligned with Toyota after Le Mans to pursue “new motorsport adventures within the Toyota Gazoo Racing family”.
Could the Dakar Rally be on his wishlist? The Spaniard recently tested a Dakar Hilux with the Japanese marque. Alonso will also contest the Indy 500 for a second time this year with McLaren in his pursuit of motorsport’s Triple Crown.
“I have enjoyed being part of Toyota Gazoo Racing in WEC but this chapter is ending,” Alonso said.
“Winning Le Mans is one of the highlights of my career as part of my Triple Crown challenge and I will always remember that victory which we achieved together as a team last year. Now is a good time to take on new challenges and there are many interesting opportunities to explore within Toyota Gazoo Racing.
“I wish Brendon all the best for next season and I would like to thank all the team members for the big effort they continue to make to achieve success in WEC. We still have two important races remaining as we are still in the fight to become WEC World Champions, and I will be pushing hard to win both of them.
“I would love to put an end to this super season by celebrating a new world title with all the Toyota Gazoo Racing family. Finally, I’d like to take the opportunity to say thanks to all WEC and ACO members for such a warm welcome and experience.”