TOM KRISTENSEN AT AUTOSPORT INTERNATIONAL '07
The most successful Le Mans driver ever, Tom Kristensen, has been confirmed to attend Autosport International '07 on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 January at the NEC, Birmingham. The Danish sports car ace became the first driver to win the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hour race seven times when he clinched a record sixth consecutive victory in an Audi R8 in 2005.
The 39 year-old first won the classic event in 1997, when he drove a Tom Walkinshaw Racing-designed Porsche WSC95 for the Joest Racing team. In 2000 he began the winning streak of six consecutive victories, taking the chequered flag in 2000, '01 and '02 with Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro in an Audi R8 to become the first driver since the legendary Jacky Ickx to win three times in a row.
A switch to Bentley when the famous British marque made a return to the classic endurance event in 2003 earnt him win number five and the following year he equalled Ickx's sixth victory with a win for Team Goh again in an Audi R8. His last win in 2005 saw Kristensen win a record seventh time with an American R8 entry and last year he finished in third place in an Audi R10.
For the former Japanese F3 Champion and Tyrrell F1 test driver, Autosport International will provide Tom with the opportunity to be reunited with many of the other stars of Le Mans when the exhibition plays host to one of the most significant displays of Le Mans cars ever assembled. The party will continue into Saturday night at the prestigious Le Mans Gala Dinner at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole.
Confirmed to attend the Gala Dinner are Allan McNish who took the Le Mans 24-hour spoils in 1998, Guy Smith who partnered Kristensen to the 2003 victory with Team Bentley, David Brabham who secured second overall in 2003 with Team Bentley and Paddy Hopkirk, who made history in 1965 by finishing second in class and 11th overall in the MGB GT.
Among the other drivers and team owners lined-up to attend Autosport International '07 and the Le Mans Gala Dinner are a host of former race winners including: the legendary five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell, 1992 winners Mark Blundell and Derek Warwick, 1991 winner Johnny Herbert, 1988 winner Andy Wallace, Richard Lloyd (second overall in '85), 2005-06 Class Winner Ray Mallock, 1988 Class Winner Gordon Spice, plus Lawrence Tomlinson, Richard Dean, Tom Kimber-Smith, Johnny Mowlem, Win Percy, Mike Wilds, David Piper, Tony Southgate, Jackie Oliver and Graham Humphrys.
-credit: autosport int'l