“I” in team. It’s not about me, it’s about we.
You need to understand your teammates
and they need to understand you, and you
have to support each other. I know that in
those circumstances I deliver the best I
possibly can. With the experience I now
have, I try to pass that on to my teammates
and help them in the same way that
Michele [Alboreto] and Stefan [Johansson]
did when I first came to Le Mans.
Since my Bentley year , I’ve
always made sure that I travel to and
from the track with my teammates over
the course of a race weekend. That gives
you a quiet time together and you can
say everything you need to say to each
other in private. I think it’s one of the
most important things that we’ve done
to bring everyone together as a team.
It’s something that helps you click as a
group and make you one force.
YOU MUST CONCENTRATE, AND
The importance of concentration is
completely underrated at Le Mans. Some
say that because it’s a long track, with the
long straight and not so many corners,
you get a chance to relax. That’s certainly
not true: you have to be focused and
concentrated 100 percent of the time.
The next overtaking maneuver you do
is always the most important one. You
might recognize the car ahead and
remember that the driver left you room
last time you passed it, but the car might
have been in the pits since then and
have a different driver behind the wheel
now. You always have to be alert.
The mental demands placed on the
driver are even higher today than in the
past. The new breed of LMP1 car is a
highly complex machine and so much is
being asked of the driver in the cockpit.
There’s no doubt to my mind that LMP1 is
the most challenging form of motorsport
anywhere in the world right now.
PICK YOUR MOMENTS IN TRAFFIC
There is an element of controlled
risk-taking at Le Mans, but you can’t take
risks just for the sake of lap time. The
difference between those two zones is
very small. But you have to remember
that the winners at Le Mans are always
the drivers who have taken the correct
way around the GT cars.
GET ON YOUR BIKE
Fitness is very important because it
gives you the ability to concentrate
better. If you are not fit, you cannot get
the best out of yourself. Weight is
important, especially these days, so
training is very important for me.
I do some kind of training, whether it
is running, cycling, or core training in
the gym, every single day. Most days
I will run 10 or 15km [six or nine miles]
(MAIN) Somewhere in that
blizzard of champagne is Tom
Kristensen, celebrating his
eighth 24 Hours of Le Mans win
in 2008. (BELOW RIGHT) It’s
not just the drivers who need to
bring their A-game to Le Mans;
slick pit work is essential for
TK LM24: pOdIuM OR BuST
In his 17 starts, Tom Kristensen either goes home early or steps out on to the podium.
His nine wins are joined by one second-place finish, three thirds and four DNFs.
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2014 24 HOuRS OF LE MANS PREVIEW