A day before “Mr. Le Mans”, 9 times winner Tom Kristensen drives the 2014 Audi R18 e-tron Quattro through the streets of Le Mans to the racetrack entrance, he and the Audi Press Team had a brief chat.
Audi: You’ve been on the Le Mans grid 17 times. But for driving the Audi R18 e-tron through the city centre you need to learn a slightly different route.
Tom: Driving a race car in public traffic is a unique opportunity. And it’s not just on any street or road but right in Le Mans from the Place des Jacobins to the race track. After so many years at Le Mans, this will be a very emotional moment for me, too. And I’m driving the most beautiful race car I’ve ever seen.
Audi: In four weeks from now, at the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season opener, you’ll be at the wheel of car number ‘1’ together with your World Championship winning team-mate Loïc Duval and your new team-mate Lucas di Grassi. You’ll be the hunted – is that a good feeling?
Tom: It’s the best feeling we could wish for. At the same time, it’ll kick off a season that promises to become a real thriller. Toyota has always been a strong opponent, now Porsche will be an additional rival. The new regulations have reset all the clocks to zero. I can hardly wait for the action to start at Silverstone in less than a month from now.
Audi: Following the team-building event with Audi Sport in Lanzarote, you invited the team members for an action-packed day in Denmark. Will the cohesion of the team be a crucial factor in the battle for the WEC title this year?
Tom: Everybody at Audi and Audi Sport Team Joest knows how important team play and mutual respect between all the members are to Dr. Ullrich and his squad. It’s out of the question that we’re going to have a much tougher competition in the WEC this year than ever before. That’s why the battle is not just about technological progress, as the human factor will be really crucial. At Audi, we’re well-poised for the challenge.