2014 24 HOURS OF LE MANS PREVIEW
ith nine outright victories at the 24
Hours of Le Mans – three more, and
counting, than the next most successful
driver – Tom Kristensen knows a little bit
about what it takes to win the world’s
most prestigious endurance race.
The Dane won on his Le Mans debut in
1997, partnered by the more experienced
pairing of Michele Alboreto and Stefan
Johansson in a TWR Porsche WSC- 95.
Since then, he’s added eight more victories
from a total of just 17 starts – seven of
them coming in factory or privateer Audis
and one with its sister company, Bentley.
It’s a phenomenal record, and with the
ninth win coming just last year at the
wheel of an Audi R18 e-tron quattro, the
story isn’t over yet for Kristensen.
But knowing what it takes to win isn’t
the same as winning. There are no
foregone conclusions at the Grand Prix
de l’Endurance. Twice Kristensen has seen
enormous leads flip-flop into DNFs in the
blink of an eye and as “TK” guides
RACER through some of the elements
that can help toward success at the
24 Hours of Le Mans, he begins by
explaining that there are no magic bullets.
KNOW THAT THERE ARE NO
SECRETS TO SUCCESS
Dedication and hard work are required
for success in any motor race, but even
more so at Le Mans. That goes for the
team and the drivers. You need to be
hard on yourself to do well.
The workload has grown in magnitude
over my time in sports car racing.
Compared to today, things like systems
checks and debriefs were completely
different when I started out back in 1997.
Of course, luck plays its part, too. You
think you’ve planned and prepared for
Winning once at the 24 Hours of Le Mans is tough enough. Nine times? That defies belief.
Tom Kristensen, the man who’s achieved that feat, imparts some of his Le Mans wisdom...
WORDS Gary Watkins MAIN IMAGE Alastair Staley/LAT