Tom Kristensen (racing driver)

Tom Kristensen
Tom Kristensen Goodwood Festival of Speed 2019 (48242774107).jpg
Tom Kristensen in 2019
NationalityDanish
Born (1967-07-07) 7 July 1967 (age 52)
Hobro, Denmark
FIA World Endurance Championship
Years active20122014
Former teamsAudi Sport Team Joest
Starts24
Championships1 (2013)
Wins6
Podiums19
Poles4
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Years19972014
TeamsAudi Sport Team Joest
Audi Sport North America
ADT Champion Racing
Audi Sport Japan Team Goh
Team Bentley
Team BMW Motorsport
Joest Racing
Best finish1st (1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2013)
Class wins9 (1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2013)
DTM
Years active20042009, 2011
Former teamsAbt Sportsline
Starts61
Wins4
Podiums18
Poles7
Fastest laps4
Best finish3rd in 2005, 2006
Previous series
2004–2011
20012002
2000
1998–1999
1996–1997
1994–1995
1994–1995
1992–1993
1989, 1991
American Le Mans Series
BTCC
German Supertouring
International Formula 3000
Japanese Formula 3000
JTCC
Japanese Formula Three
German Formula Three
Championship titles
2013
2001
1993
1991
FIA World Endurance Championship
American Le Mans Series
Japanese Formula Three
German Formula Three

Tom Kristensen (born 7 July 1967) is a Danish former racing driver. He holds the record for the most wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with nine, six of which were consecutive (from 2000 to 2005). In 1997, he won the race with the Joest Racing team, driving a Tom Walkinshaw Racing-designed and Porsche-powered WSC95, after being a late inclusion in the team following Davy Jones' accident that eventually ruled him out of the race. All of his wins since then have come driving an Audi prototype, except in 2003, when he drove a Bentley prototype. In both 1999 and 2007 Kristensen's team crashed out of comfortable leads in the closing hours of the race. He is considered by many to be the greatest driver ever to have raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, earning the nickname "Mr Le Mans".[1] Elsewhere Kristensen also holds the record for most wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring with a total of six.[2]

In August 2014, Kristensen was appointed Knight of the Order of the Dannebrog by the Queen of Denmark.[3] In January 2018 he was inducted into the Danish Sports Hall of Fame.[4]

Career

Kristensen was born in Hobro. His career began in 1984, winning several karting titles. He raced in Japan in the early 1990s, concurrently in Formula 3 and Touring Cars. He was German Formula 3 Champion in 1991, Japanese Formula 3 champion in 1993, and runner-up in the Japanese Touring Car Championship (JTCC) in 1992 and 1994. He was 6th in Formula 3000 in both 1996 and 1997, and test driver for Tyrrell in their final Formula One season in 1998, and for Michelin as they prepared their F1 tyres using an older Williams car in 2000. He was 3rd in the STW Cup in Germany in 1999, 7th in the British Touring Car Championship in 2000, and winner of the 12 Hours of Sebring in both those years.

Kristensen driving for Audi (Abt) at the Hockenheimring in the 2008 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters season.

On 22 April 2007, Kristensen was involved in an accident while racing on the Hockenheimring race course in Hockenheim, Germany.[5] The crash resulted in a long break from training for Kristensen, and his participation in the 2007 Le Mans race was in jeopardy. However, Kristensen recuperated quickly, and was cleared by the Le Mans doctors to start the race. It was reported that a new type of collar may have prevented him suffering a broken neck in the crash.[6]