Two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso will pursue new motorsport challenges following the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours, handing over his place in the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing team in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) to Brendon Hartley.
“A big thanks to TOYOTA GAZOO Racing for giving me this opportunity”, said Hartley.
“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”.
Alonso, who will explore new motorsport adventures within the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing family, will conclude his time in WEC when he and his World Championship-leading team-mates Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima defend the Le Mans crown they won together last June.
New Zealander Brendon, who became a two-time WEC champion and 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours winner during four seasons with Porsche prior to a stint in Formula 1, will begin the transition when he makes his first public appearance behind the wheel of a TS050 HYBRID at the Le Mans test day on 2 June.
Brendon will join Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, José María López, Sébastien and Kazuki on 1 September at Silverstone.
The WEC team expressed its sincere thanks to Fernando for the valuable contribution including a Le Mans victory and WEC crown.
“I am sad to say goodbye to Fernando and would like to thank him a lot for his contribution to this fantastic season during which he has written his name in TOYOTA’s motorsport history”, said Hisatake Murata, Team President:
“I would like to welcome Brendon to TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. For many years we have
“His passion, desire to win and willingness to chase his dreams is truly impressive. We will enjoy working together for the final two races when I know we all share the same target of winning Le Mans and both World Championships.”
“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”, said Alonso.
“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”.
Images: Toyota Gazoo Racing