Nine time Le Mans winner and 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship champion Tom Kristensen has announced his retirement from the sport.
Kristensen, or ‘Mr Le Mans’ as he is known in the paddock, first raced at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1997, winning at his first attempt in LMP, with the Dane also clinching the 2001 American Le Mans Series, 1993 Japanese Formula Three and 1991 German F3 championships during his illustrious career.
However, this run will come to an end next weekend, with the most successful sports car racing driver of his era calling time on his career at the season ending Six Hours of Sao Paulo in Brazil. He will, however, keep his ties at Audi, where he will join former co-drivers Allan McNish and Dindo Capello as brand ambassadors.
“I’ve had the privilege of driving for the best team and the world’s coolest automobile manufacturer for 15 years,” said Kristensen. “I’ve had great team-mates and worked together with fantastic people. With Audi, I’ve been able to win many titles and numerous races as well as experiencing some unforgettable, emotional moments.
“My string of victories in the Le Mans 24 Hours would not have been possible without Audi. Leaving this team as a driver is hard for me. But the day had to come at one time or another. I can only thank Audi and the entire staff for the great time I’ve had and look forward to my new tasks for the brand and the team of Audi Sport.”
“Naturally, the retirement of a remarkable personality like Tom Kristensen is a great loss for Audi Sport Team Joest and the entire endurance racing scene,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “We can understand his decision to quit at the pinnacle of his career.
“He’s the last member of the generation that Audi began with in prototype racing. Tom has been competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship as the reigning World Champion this year and shown that he’s still one of the world’s fastest and best sports car drivers. We’ll miss him as a driver but he’s going to continue to support us with his wealth of experience and his personality. We’re happy that Tom Kristensen has been and will continue to be an ‘Audian’ with his heart and soul.”