Tom Kristensen has today announced that he will be retiring from Motorsport at the end of the 2014 season. The Dane has claimed Endurance racing as his own over the years winning the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans overall on no less than 9 occasions. In-fact Mr Le Mans has never finished off the podium if his car has made it to the end of the endurance classic.
The Dane’s success over the years have not been limited to the Circuit de la Sarthe. He has won races in the highly competitive Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters championship (German Touring Cars) and the BTCC (British Touring Car Championship), as well as winning the Sebring 12 Hours on 6 occasions. Also in the United States, Kristensen finished on the podium at the Petit Le Mans race on 3 occasions, with 1 win in 2002. Kristensen then went on to finally become a FIA world champion in the WEC for Audi in 2013.
In the press conference where Kristenesen announced his retirement, he said “I have crossed the finish line. I have grown up. I have been told that you know when it’s time to stop. I have not had that feeling until now,” He added. “Over the past years I have felt that staying in peak physical condition and keeping my weight down have required more and more from my body.” He went on to say “For me today is a happy day. I am proud of my career, what I have achieved, and for the memories that I will have forever. I feel privileged to have worked with so many inspiring and talented people. I have driven with the best co-drivers on the best teams in the world. If I could do it all again, I would not change a single decision in my career.” He went on to say “I still feel I am in peak physical form and possess the necessary mental toughness both in and outside of the car. It has been important for me to stop while I am still strong and able to deliver top performances at Audi. I have chosen to announce my retirement now in order to be able to say a proper goodbye to the sport I love so much at our last race in Sao Paulo in Brazil.”
During the course of his career, Kristensen has shared allot of his success with Audi. Out of his 18 appearances at Le Mans, 14 have been driving an Audi. He also competed for the German marque in the DTM for 6 full seasons. At Sebring he drove an Audi on 11 out of 13 occasions and only ever drove for Audi at Petit Le Mans.
In a message to his fans he said “Today I retire from professional Motorsports. What a great journey, which now has seen the chequered flag. I am very happy today. Motorsport is about passion – thanks for sharing mine! Thank You!” Tom Kristensen’s last race in the WEC will be next Sunday (30th), although he will be competing at the Race of Champions later in the year.
Photo – Fourtitude
Source & Quotes – Tom Kristensen.com