Tom Kristensen retires

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
According to Motorsport.com, Kristensen, one of the all-time great Le Mans drivers is retiring at the end of this season.

I would like to thank Tom for all the years of our getting to watch a master of the form at work. You will be missed by fans of Le Mans everywhere.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
I must admit to knowing the name and knowing a little of his achievements but until looking up more detail I wasn't aware of all that he had done. This is one of the problems with modern motorsport, a driver as clearly outstanding as this will never get the recognition he deserves due to not having the words Formula one on his CV.

Besides winning Le Mans 9 times, he has 7 12hrs Sebring wins, 1 Petit Le Mans win, 1 race win in Formula 3000, 1 race win (3rd overall) in Japanese Formula 3000, 3 Race wins (7th overall in season) in BTCC, 4 race wins (2 3rd overall finishes) in DTM and 4 wins and 1 championship overall in the world endurance series.

The bulk of F1 drivers would be happy just for 1 of those things to bolster there CV's. It's a sad state of affairs that someone like Jenson Button would be considered to have taken a step down to join Endurance racing.

I am as guilty as anyone though for not paying enough attention to the wider motorsport world.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Very different disciplines though and many F1 drivers don't make the transition to endurance racing very well. Mark Webber might be the exception as he never drove very quickly in F1.

Anyway, well done Tom. I suspect it will take a long time for someone to beat your record of Le Mans wins but like all records it's there to be broken. Who would have though anyone would beat Jack Ickx's record?
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
Yeah, FB. you're right, the disciplines are very different, we are also deprived these days of seeing F1 drivers multi task in a season. I was thinking more of the perception of the disciplines though.
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
I have never understood why F1 is held in such higher regard than endurance racing. I began following both in the early 60s, when drivers took part in both disciplines. What really caught my eye back then was that, since there were only 2 drivers per car at Le Mans, each covered basically the distance of an entire F1 season in a single race!

Sports cars have also been far more innovative than F1, as they have introduced everything from disc brakes to diesel race cars and turbo charging before they ever appeared in the so-called "pinnacle of racing".

I have often wondered if the relative lack of popularity for endurance racing is due to people's short attention span, where two hours of spectating is pushing their limits.
 

KekeTheKing

Banned
Supporter
Nearly every driver in every junior series throughout the world aspires to become a Formula One pilot. That should tell you a little something about why its seen as the "pinnacle of racing". When Tom was winning Formula 3 Championships his goal was F1 and he got there as a Tyrrell test driver. Unfortunately the legendary marque didn't have long in the sport. And what do many former Formula One hopefuls do, turn to tin tops. Quite successfully in this case.

Sports car racing is just not as exciting as open wheel racing. 2 hrs, 12 hrs, or 24. In my humble opinion of course.
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
The only problem with endurance racing is that it doesn't translate well to television, because, as I said, people have very short attention spans.

As for F1 being the "pinnacle", the only ways that truly applies is in exposure (tv) and team budgets. If you want technical innovation, it is sports cars that rule. If you want wheel-to-wheel battles, both Indy and NASCAR beat F1 to death. And with the preponderance of pay drivers, F1 can't even claim that they are the best, any more.
 

Incubus

Champion Elect
Sports car racing is just not as exciting as open wheel racing. 2 hrs, 12 hrs, or 24. In my humble opinion of course.

-------------------------------------------------

Different type of excitement altogether, not inferior nor superior.

Nothing can replace the excitement of standing somewhere at dawn at Le Mans with your time-measuring device and suddenly realisising that something's happening, and leading car A has suddenly started lapping 6 seconds slower than car B chasing it and the crowd aaround you can sense it and the PA hasn't quite caught up with it yet...
 

soccerman17

Race Winner
The only problem with endurance racing is that it doesn't translate well to television, because, as I said, people have very short attention spans.

As for F1 being the "pinnacle", the only ways that truly applies is in exposure (tv) and team budgets. If you want technical innovation, it is sports cars that rule. If you want wheel-to-wheel battles, both Indy and NASCAR beat F1 to death. And with the preponderance of pay drivers, F1 can't even claim that they are the best, any more.
F1 has the fastest vehicles, simple as that.
 

Incubus

Champion Elect
Not in terms or straightline speed they don't. F1 cars straightline speeds have remained fairly stagnant since the 70's. And try running a current F1 car on an oval, and see how it fares compared to an Indy car...
 

soccerman17

Race Winner
Not in terms or straightline speed they don't. F1 cars straightline speeds have remained fairly stagnant since the 70's. And try running a current F1 car on an oval, and see how it fares compared to an Indy car...
Once they pull all the drag off the car it will be much quicker than an IndyCar. Only reason IndyCar is faster in a straightline is because they can afford to run with very little wing on some ovals.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
You wouldn't want to take a corner with it in that configeration thought. :o

Off topic but I wonder if it would have been any quicker on slicks rather than the groove tyres of that era ??
 

Incubus

Champion Elect
Inferior to Paul Tracy's record top speeed at Michigan in 1996 (I think?) at 256mph (413k) in a "normal" oval configuration. during a "normal" practice session for the race.

F1 cars aren't designed for ovals. Not much point in saying what F1 cars could achieve if they were designed differently because if they didn't conform to f1 regulations then they wouldn't be F1 cars anymore would they? ;)

I mean, it's still true to say that F1 is the most technologically advanced motorsport competition within a given set of technical limitations but these limitations become ever more limiting through time.

I's kind of funny to think that the most powerful racing car to ever take to a track was a car (the Porsche 917/30 CanAm) that raced over 40 years ago!
 
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