Between 1997 and 2014, Tom Kristensen won the world’s toughest motor race, the Le Mans 24 Hours, a record nine times and finished on the podium on five more occasions. Every time his car made it to the finish, in fact, he was in the top three. It is no wonder that this great sports car driver is known as ‘Mr Le Mans’ to motorsport fans around the world. Now retired from racing, Kristensen shares in this book his deepest personal reflections and insights from inside and outside the cockpit. He looks back on more than 30 years spent striving for perfection in racing and tells of the battles and setbacks that sometimes seemed impossible to overcome, including a terrible accident in 2007. Voted ‘Sports Book of the Year’ when originally published in Kristensen’s native Denmark, this thoughtful memoir is now available in English.
Climbing the racing ladder, from karting into Formula 3 single-seaters, including championship titles in Germany (1991) and Japan (1993), then Formula 3000 and a Formula 1 testing role with Tyrrell.
Winning as an underdog on his first visit to Le Mans, in 1997 driving an elderly Joest-run privateer Porsche in which he impressed all onlookers with a night-time charge to vanquish Porsche’s factory-entered favourite.
His second Le Mans victory came in 2000 on his maiden drive for Audi in the R8, a car that was to become all-conquering.
Kristensen won the next five editions of Le Mans, four times with Audi and once with Bentley (in 2003), his last victory in this sequence taking him past Jacky Ickx’s previous record at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
His eighth win came in one of the all-time classic contests at Le Mans, in 2008, a rollercoaster of a race in which his ageing diesel-powered Audi was never expected to beat the fancied works Peugeots.
One more victory with Audi in 2013 sealed his reputation as a true legend of Le Mans.
His story includes exploits at other racetracks all over the world, none more prolific than Sebring, home of America’s long-established classic endurance race that Kristensen won six times.
Personal reflections together with contributions from notable observers — including English journalists Gary Watkins and Charles Bradley — complete a truly rounded portrait of the man and his achievements.
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