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Hartley to Replace Alonso in Toyota LMP1 Lineup

Brendon Hartley to replace Fernando Alonso in Toyota LMP1 lineup next season…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Brendon Hartley will replace Fernando Alonso at Toyota Gazoo Racing for the 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship season, the team confirmed on Wednesday.

The Kiwi, who previously formed part of Porsche’s LMP1 program and scored two titles and a 24 Hours of Le Mans win for the team, will make his Toyota race debut at the Four Hours of Silverstone in September.

He has been linked to the seat for some time, while Alonso’s future in WEC past the end of this season has long been unclear.

Hartley will also drive the Toyota TS050 Hybrid at the Le Mans test day on June 2 in his first public appearance in the car.

The remaining five drivers in Toyota’s current lineup – Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi – will all remain with the team next season.

The exact driver lineups for each car are yet to be confirmed.

“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.”

Hartley made his return to sports car racing at Sebring in March, competing with SMP Racing in the WEC race and with Mustang Sampling Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round.

It came after a year in Formula 1 with Toro Rossi following the end of Porsche’s LMP1 program in 2017.

“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,” he said.

“I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the TS050 Hybrid; the first tests can’t come soon enough.”

Alonso Set to Explore “New Motorsport Adventures” With Toyota

A statement released by Toyota revealed that Alonso will “explore new motorsport adventures within the Toyota Gazoo Racing family” following the end of the current season at Le Mans in June.

“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.”

Alonso recently tested a Toyota Hilux pickup truck that won this year’s Dakar Rally, an event that appears to be on the Spaniard’s bucket list.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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