A lap of Road Atlanta with Tom Kristensen

The 2001 American Le Mans Series season will end with the running of Audi presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Saturday, October 6. Three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen, who drives for Audi Sport North America, is one of four...

The 2001 American Le Mans Series season will end with the running of Audi presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Saturday, October 6. Three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen, who drives for Audi Sport North America, is one of four drivers still in contention to win the 2001 ALMS driving championship, and he will also be seeking his first win in the prestigious sports car endurance race. In this narrative, the Dane describes how he drives his Audi R8 Prototype around the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta course.

"Road Atlanta is one of the best tracks in the country. The rolling terrain and the red clay make for a beautiful layout in the Georgia countryside.

"Coming down the front straight in the Infineon Audi R8 you are doing nearly 300 kph (186 mph) to get set up for turn one. Turn one is a fast corner that we will take in fifth gear. You turn in and then the corner drops down a little and you have to wait until the car compresses and nail it up the hill to turn two.

"Turn two has a blind entry. You have to commit yourself to the apex, brake hard and clip the curb a little in third gear. The car will struggle a little for traction and then accelerate on your way into the esses.

"Coming through three and into the esses, we will short shift to fifth gear. When you are on new tires you have a lot of grip and can carry a lot of speed through here. In traffic you have to be patient and be very committed to your overtaking without lifting, or you will have contact. The Audi will carry about 250 kph (155 mph) through this section.

"You come into five, the fast left hander, in fourth at about 160 kph (100 mph). You compress and run up on the curb, but not too much, making sure not to damage the rear diffuser. You then head down the short straight to the next corner.

"This section is one of the most important on the track. These next two corners, six and seven, set you up for the long straight. The first one is taken in fourth with a quick blast on the accelerator, brake and then down to second. Turn seven is the slowest corner with very low grip. You have to be patient and aggressive to get the power down. You track out and let the curb catch you at the exit, then accelerate down the long straight reaching over 300 kph (186 mph). You also have to be careful how you are following someone so you don't upset the aero of the car over the hump.

"The next section into10a is critical. You brake from over 300 km down to 110 (68 mph) in less than 100 meters for the chicane. Shifting into second through the chicane you can run up on the curbs at the entry and exit aggressively before you go over the hill.

"The hill is great! Coming over the hill is like a roller coaster ride. It is my favorite part of the circuit. You head for the right hand side of the road next to the bottom of the bridge. The speed you carry with the g-forces from the acceleration will deliver you to the track out point. From here to the entry of turn one we are flat out.

"At Road Atlanta we will shift the Audi R8 43 times per lap and average race lap times will be one minute and eleven seconds."

-ALMS

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Tom Kristensen