Brendon Hartley has signed to drive for GEOX Dragon in the upcoming ABB FIA Formula E Championship season.
The two-time FIA World Endurance Champion will make his Formula E debut at the Ad Diriyah E-Prix this November in one of the latest iterations of the Penske Autosport-designed car, to be known as the Penske EV-4.
E-racing365 understands that Hartley tested for the American-entered team last week at Calafat, undertaking the first comprehensive test of the 2019-20 powertrain, before finalizing a deal earlier this week.
“I’m happy to be taking on a new challenge in Formula E together with GEOX Dragon,” he said.
“Formula E is totally different from any other race series I’ve been in, but I am hoping my experience in many categories with energy management will pay dividends and give me a head start as a rookie.
“I’ve already started working with most of the GEOX Dragon team, and I have a strong feeling that we can share some good success together in the coming season.”
Hartley had a brief run in a Venturi Gen 1 car in August 2017 and also completed several days as the test and development driver for the new Porsche Formula E team earlier this year.
“I am very pleased to have Brendon pilot one of our two entries in Season Six of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. Brendon is a real racer,” added Jay Penske, owner of GEOX Dragon and Penske Autosport.
“He has a unique combination of experience, intellect, and racecraft that will allow him to maximize the potential of the new Penske EV-4 powertrain.
“Most importantly, he shares our hunger, and our determination to take the fight to the incredible field of major manufacturers this season.”
Hartley’s teammate at Dragon is expected to be announced in early September. Current Formula 2 driver Jordan King ran for the team at the same test in Calafat recently and also shook down the test car in the UK.
Hartley, who is also testing for Dragon today, has previous experience of street racing from his F3, World Series 3.5 and Formula 1 programs.
His signing with Dragon again raises several questions about priority programs for drivers with clashes between Formula E and WEC.
Since his year in Formula 1 after the end of the Porsche LMP1 program, Hartley hadn’t had a full-time sports car contract until he signed for Toyota Gazoo Racing for the 2019-20 WEC season.
He has replaced Fernando Alonso in one of the team’s LMP1 Hybrid cars, joining Kazuki Nakajima and fellow Formula E driver Sebastien Buemi.
Date Clash Arrangements Still Unclear
It currently remains unclear how either GEOX Dragon or Toyota would manage any fixture clashes between Formula E and WEC in the 2019-20 seasons.
As it stands, there will be two clashes between the two series, with the Bahrain and Sebring enduros falling on the same dates as Formula E’s two TBC races.
However, e-racing365 believes that the likelihood of clashes is set to be averted when Formula E announces amendments to its schedule next month.
However, should any remain it is expected that Hartley will favour his WEC commitments.
Toyota is highly unlikely to sanction two of its drivers to prioritize another program, although e-racing365 understands that for Buemi, the decision on which event to choose is more in his own hands than it was last time he faced a clash in 2017.
Thomas Laurent has been signed as Toyota’s reserve driver, so the team could call on the Frenchman as a replacement for one of its seats.