MR LE MANS: TOM KRISTENSEN
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By Tom Kristensen with Dan Philipsen
Foreword by Dr Wolfgang Ullrich
Between 1997 and 2014, Tom Kristensen won the world’s toughest motor race, the Le Mans 24 Hours, a record nine times and finished on the podium on five more occasions. Every time his car made it to the finish, in fact, he was in the top three. It is no wonder that this great sports car driver is known as ‘Mr Le Mans’ to motorsport fans around the world. Now retired from racing, Kristensen shares in this book his deepest personal reflections and insights from inside and outside the cockpit. He looks back on more than 30 years spent striving for perfection in racing and tells of the battles and setbacks that sometimes seemed impossible to overcome, including a terrible accident in 2007. Voted ‘Sports Book of the Year’ when originally published in Kristensen’s native Denmark, this thoughtful memoir is now available in English.
- Climbing the racing ladder, from karting into Formula 3 single-seaters, including championship titles in Germany (1991) and Japan (1993), then Formula 3000 and a Formula 1 testing role with Tyrrell.
- Winning as an underdog on his first visit to Le Mans, in 1997 driving an elderly Joest-run privateer Porsche in which he impressed all onlookers with a night-time charge to vanquish Porsche’s factory-entered favourite.
- His second Le Mans victory came in 2000 on his maiden drive for Audi in the R8, a car that was to become all-conquering.
- Kristensen won the next five editions of Le Mans, four times with Audi and once with Bentley (in 2003), his last victory in this sequence taking him past Jacky Ickx’s previous record at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
- His eighth win came in one of the all-time classic contests at Le Mans, in 2008, a rollercoaster of a race in which his ageing diesel-powered Audi was never expected to beat the fancied works Peugeots.
- One more victory with Audi in 2013 sealed his reputation as a true legend of Le Mans.
- His story includes exploits at other racetracks all over the world, none more prolific than Sebring, home of America’s long-established classic endurance race that Kristensen won six times.
- Personal reflections together with contributions from notable observers — including English journalists Gary Watkins and Charles Bradley — complete a truly rounded portrait of the man and his achievements.
- ISBN: 978-87-972603-0-2
- Format: 245x170mm
- Page extent: 432pp
- Illustration: 125 photos
Dan Philipsen, Tom Kristensen’s collaborator on this book, is an editor at TV2 Sport, Denmark’s leading sports broadcaster, and formerly a journalist with the daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten. He has had three other sports biographies published in Danish. His home country honoured him as ‘Sports Reporter of the Year’ in 2010 and awarded him the Werther Prize in 2014 for a series of newspaper articles about footballer Thomas Augustinussen.
“Co-author Dan Philipsen reveals in the preface that Kristensen was ‘uncomfortable’ about the book title as it ‘would undermine the event and its own stature and position in the sport he loves so much’. That is the first of many revelations that provide a well-rounded insight into the pre-eminent sportscar racer of the past 20-or-so years… Anybody reading the book will likely know the broad brushstrokes of his long career, and the high points from which the book takes its name. But thankfully this memoir offers so, so much more.”
“A tale of dedication, determination, talent and taking nothing for granted.”
“Mr. Le Mans is a compelling read, full of passion, honesty and opinion… a genuine, great-value, five-star publication that deserves to be a best seller.”
“Kristensen shares his deepest personal reflections and insights from both inside and outside the cockpit.”
“A long time coming… a must.”
Classic & Sports Car
“When someone as successful as Tom Kristensen speaks, you listen. And when he writes, you read. Sportscar racing fans genuinely owe it to themselves to pick up a copy and engross themselves in one of the most remarkable careers of any driver in the history of motorsport… highly recommended.”
“You should read this book.”
“A truly rounded portrait of Tom Kristensen and his remarkable achievements.”
“If you are looking for a book that reads like a personal day spent with the humble man from a small town who became one of the biggest stars in global motorsport — all the while being the perfect politician and ambassador, get comfy, have a cup of coffee with Tom and let this beautiful book wash over you.”
“Refreshingly candid, revealing and honest, which is a rare quality in the world of ego-driven racing drivers… exciting, funny and it is frank.”
“Mr Le Mans is fascinating book describing his personal reflections on life in and out of the cockpit and the perfect read for any sports enthusiast.”
“Read [this] book. Mr Le Mans? That’s really only the half of it.”
“[Kristensen tells us] stories behind the scenes, opening up and providing some of the answers fans have craved.”
“This is the definitive story and a must-read for all serious motorsport fans.”
“Kristensen’s passion for his sport and its history shines through in the pages of this memoir… a wholesome, engaging reflection of an incredible career.”
“From Kristensen never shaving on race day (not superstition but practicality: one less thing to distract or go wrong on the morning of) to contract negotiations to engineering insights, the ups and downs, the vagaries of luck, the importance of family... there is much here to engage the mind and the imagination.”
“What makes this book so interesting, and in many ways rare in the modern famous person autobiography field, is how unblinking and true it is… Sure, Kristensen talks about racing, but he also talks about his relationship with his mom and sailing with his dad… he explores what it’s like to be a father himself, his relationship with team-mates, loss in general, the nature of friendship, rivalries… you know, a well-examined life… This book, through and through, is rare in today’s world of pre-fab honesty and pre-packaged emotions… you won’t regret reading it.”
Tony Borroz, automoblog.net