The unknown racing megastar

If you don’t have to think hard before answering when somebody asks you who Tom Kristensen is, you’ve established your bona fides as a serious racing enthusiast. It’s undeniable that a lot of people who claim they know about racing wouldn’t be able to answer. For their benefit, and others’, Kristensen is a nine-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which doesn’t get the attention it merits in the United States, even though American teams have been competing there for a long time. Four of Kristensen’s wins came with Audi, which thankfully has a significant piece of the U.S. auto market and strongly promotes its motorsport excellence, otherwise even fewer Americans would likely have ever heard of this guy.

In winning nine times, Kristensen surpassed the Le Mans victory totals of both Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell, two of the greatest sports car racers ever to grip a wheel. His first wins at both Le Mans and Sebring came as a rookie in each event. Those are astonishing achievements. A former karting champion, Kristensen is a veteran of the wild DTM sedan wars, was a pro-level racer in Japan for years and also a prime Formula 1 prospect who earned tests with multiple teams. So Kristensen’s established his bona fides, too, in a new autobiography co-authored by his fellow Dane, Dan Phillipsen. It’s produced with impressive richness by Evro Publishing in the United Kingdom, and carries appropriate weight at more than 430 hardcover pages. It’s $55.00 and easily available to order here in the United States. This will come to be an important biography for racing libraries because just like Reggie Jackson (and NASCAR’s Harry Gant) was Mr. October, Tom Kristensen is unquestionably Mr. Le Mans.

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