Hartley named as Gasly stand-in at Toro Rosso for United States GP

Brendon Hartley will stand in for Pierre Gasly at the United States Grand Prix at Toro Rosso with the French driver set to contest the Super Formula season finale.

Hartley, who currently races in the World Endurance Championship for Porsche, tested for the Italian F1 squad in 2009 and will make his championship debut at the Circuit of the Americas after being granted permission to race by his German team.

The 2015 WEC champion will team-mate the recalled Daniil Kvyat to represent a complete driver line-up change for Toro Rosso since the last race in Japan, with Carlos Sainz Jr moving to Renault and Gasly contesting the Super Formula final round at Suzuka as he aims to seal the title.

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Hartley, who clinched a dramatic victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours in June for Porsche alongside co-drivers Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber, is set to wrap up the 2017 WEC drivers’ title this weekend at the 6 Hours of Fuji before travelling to Austin for his F1 debut.

“What an amazing feeling,” Hartley said. “This opportunity came as somewhat of a surprise, but I never did give up on my ambition and childhood dream to reach F1.

“I have grown and learnt so much since the days when I was the Red Bull and Toro Rosso reserve driver, and the tough years I went through made me stronger and even more determined.

“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.

“COTA is a track I really enjoy and one I have raced at recently. I’m trying not to put too many expectations on my F1 debut, but I feel ready for it.”

Hartley will contest his first single-seater race since stepping in at Ocean Racing Technology for two rounds of the 2012 GP2 Series in a surprising turn of events for Toro Rosso.

After releasing Sainz to Renault early, with the Spanish driver making his debut for the French manufacturer in America, Toro Rosso found itself a driver short with Gasly set to contest the final round of Super Formula as the only Honda driver who can win the title.

Having already recalled Kvyat for the final four races as replacement for Sainz, Toro Rosso was left a driver short for the United States race but has secured a deal with Porsche to take on the Red Bull-backed Hartley.

“Scuderia Toro Rosso is very pleased to announce that Brendon Hartley, who 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,” Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost said.

“We are really happy to have him back in our team. With all the racing experience accumulated over the years, we are convinced that he will do a fantastic job for us.”