Brendon started racing in karts (of course) at the age of 6. There was a certain degree of inevitability about it, because his father was a keen amateur racer and Brendon's elder brother also raced, possibly because his parents called him Nelson after triple F1 world champion Nelson Piquet.
Moving up to single-seaters, Hartley began racking up wins in a variety of series, including Formula Ford. But if you want to make a career of racing, you have to come to Europe, following in the footsteps of McLaren, Hulme et al. However, instead of taking the conventional route, moving to the UK or possibly Italy, a 16 year old Brendon found himself in East Germany: that's a massive dose of culture shock for a youngster from Palmerston North in New Zealand. He stuck at it, racing in the German and European Renault 2 litre championship and the first big win came when he was crowned champion in the 2007 World Series By Renault. The Macau GP for Formula 3 cars is regarded as an accurate litmus test of a driver's talent and in 2008, Hartley finished third from 20th on the grid and set the race fastest lap. That led to a phone call from Red Bull Racing asking him to stand in for an injured Mark Webber at a Formula 1 test. This led to him becoming a regular test driver in F1, including two days in a Toro Rosso at Jerez in 2009, but with no actual drives coming his way, single-seaters were put to one side.
Brendon turned his hand to a variety of different categories, culminating in his current really impressive career in Endurance Racing. In 2014, he was called up by the legendary Porsche team, partnering another former Red Bull Racing driver, Mark Webber. The following year, along with team-mate Timo Bernhard, they finished second at the Le Mans 24 Hours and were crowned WEC LMP1 Champions. This year, Brendon won the Le Mans race.