2012 Kristensen, McNish and Capello
are in a close fight with the sister Audi
R18 e-tron quattro of Andre Lotterer,
Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler over
the closing stages. The chance of
victory disappears when McNish
crashes overtaking a GTE class Ferrari.
“If we’d won, everyone would have
said we were the deserved winners.
It was such a close fight that it could
have gone either way. But there
wasn’t so much disappointment. The
overriding emotion was the relief of
recovering to finish second, rather than
CHECK YOUR FLUID LEVELS
Fuel for your body is important, of
course. But what you eat is not the most
important part of preparing your body
for Le Mans. What you drink, however, is
crucial. A lot of water is important, and
you have to make sure you have the
right mix of minerals in your drinks
bottle when you begin a stint.
I do eat some carbohydrates, but
I’m not a big one for pasta. The key for
me is to eat little and often. I take small
bites here and there, and try to eat less
than I would normally.
LEARN FROM YOUR PAST
That 1997 race, my first 24 Hours, has
been an important part of my energy at
Le Mans over the years. I got to grips
with the place in my first year, both in
the day and at night, even though I did
hardly any laps in qualifying. I came
away with the lap record and that is
something that I can fall back on. I know
that if I am not there on the stopwatch
on one lap, I can be there the next lap.
My first Le Mans gave me the belief that
I can do what is required.
YOU DON’T NECESSARILY NEED
THE FASTEST CAR
Sometimes over one lap we haven’t been
fastest, and certainly not in terms of
straightline speed. At Audi we’ve always
been a bit down on maximum speed on
the straights, but that is our way.
Performance at Le Mans is a complex
thing, and it has become even more
complicated with the new breed of
LMP1. With the new fuel limitations we
have, it will be even more crucial to get
the right strategy to be fast over one lap,
over a stint, and over the 24 hours.
1999 Kristensen, Jorg Muller and
JJ Lehto are leading by almost four
laps in a factory Schnitzer BMW
V12 LMR when the throttle sticks
open for Lehto in the Porsche Curves,
putting them out of the race.
“This is my biggest disappointment at
Le Mans. I’d won in 1997, and then in ’ 98,
BMW could have been real contenders.
We had to withdraw the cars early with
a wheelbearing problem. That was
terrible, because it felt like we were
giving up. The following year with the
new car, we’d already won the 12 Hours
of Sebring, but before Le Mans all the
talk was about the other manufacturers.
To be leading by more than three laps
and then go out was a tough blow.”
2007 The Audi R10 TDI Kristensen
shares with Allan McNish and Rinaldo
Capello is more than four laps in front
when a wheel comes off and sends
Capello off the track at Indianapolis.
“Seeing the car go off and then Dindo
[Capello ]keeping his helmet on when he
couldn’t get the car back to the pits, and
knowing he was crying, was pretty hard
to take. We were so far in the lead and
we could have cruised around from that
point – and the the car was due in the
pits one or two laps later anyway...”
It was plain sailing for Kristensen (ABOVE),
McNish and Capello in 2007 – until a wheel
parted company with their Audi R10 TDI.
THE oNES THa T go T a Way
NINE COulD hAVE BEEN 12...
“I know that if I am
not there on the stopwatch
on one lap, I can be there
the next lap”
(ABOVE) With Audi’s
factory squad taking a
sabbatical in ’03, “TK”
earned a fifth le Mans
win with sister marque
Bentley. (lEFT) Audi
will bring its latest
R18 e-tron quattro
to the fight in 2014.
or go for a long cycle ride.
As I’ve become older – and I am now
the oldest of the Audi LMP1 drivers,
although I didn’t realize that until quite
recently – my training has become more
disciplined. I certainly wouldn’t say
I train any harder, just in a more focused
and tailored way now. For example, if
I go running, I now incorporate some
interval work. It all helps.
2014 24 hOuRS OF lE MANS PREVIEW