In conversation with Tom Kristensen, 9-time Le Mans winner

    What does a driver who won the 24 Hours of Le Mans nine times do after retirement? We speak to Kristensen about this and the shift to historic racing.

    Published On Dec 24, 2017 07:00:00 AM

    28,108 Views

    In conversation with Tom Kristensen, 9-time Le Mans winner

    What is the biggest difference you have noticed in the shift from racing modern prototypes to now racing vintage cars?
    Once you put your helmet on, you always want to do your best. But now I go to vintage motorsport events just to enjoy myself and I don’t feel I have to win. Of course, it is important to remain focused and concentrate when driving the cars, as they are treasured enormously by their owners and are often incredibly valuable – they are sometimes the best from that particular period.

    I look forward to receiving an invitation to Goodwood Revival even more so now that I am retired. The quality of the cars and the level of grip they had were very different then, as were their aerodynamics – this meant you were sliding a lot and it was even more important to find a rhythm. 

    Also, I find driving a car for the first time is one of the greatest challenges in vintage motor racing – it is a very intense feeling and really allows you to get into the spirit of the event.

    Do you ever feel like returning to racing contemporary cars, perhaps in a different form (i.e.) Rallycross?
    I was very comfortable with my decision to retire; it was the right time for me and I felt completely at peace with my decision. I am fortunate to still be involved in the industry and I enjoy my role at Audi enormously. I am also a brand ambassador for Rolex and being Grand Marshal at the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona was definitely a highlight, as I was participating in the ultimate gentleman’s 24-hour race at Le Mans. 

    Driving a variety of cars is a very special feeling and that only really happens at heritage motorsport events. For example, each of the five years I have been to Goodwood Revival, I have driven a different car in each class, which I’ve really enjoyed and find challenging.

    What have been your highlights during the Monterey Classic Car Week so far?
    The highlights for me have been seeing the enormous variety and depth of cars on show at the different events throughout the week. The amount of cars on the track at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is phenomenal. At Laguna Seca, I was particularly struck by the drivers’ laid-back approach to racing – it is all about celebrating the heritage of our sport, far more than the competition. It creates a lovely atmosphere, truly unique and far away from real competition.

    Siddhraj Singh

    Copyright (c) Autocar India. All rights reserved.

    Comments
    ×
    img

    No comments yet. Be the first to comment.

    Ask Autocar Anything about Car and Bike Buying and Maintenance Advices
    Need an expert opinion on your car and bike related queries?
    Ask Now
    Search By Car Price
    Poll of the month

    The Honda City Hybrid costs Rs 19.50 lakh. Would you:

    Buy it for its superior tech and fuel economy

     

    24.56%

    Buy a regular (and cheaper) petrol/diesel City

     

    31.71%

    Buy a high-performance turbo-petrol sedan

     

    14.58%

    Buy a pure Electric Vehicle with zero emissions

     

    29.15%

    Total Votes : 1132
    Sign up for our newsletter

    Get all the latest updates from the automobile universe