Tom Kristensen, Danish sports car racing legend, nine-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, six-time 24 Hours of Sebring winner, and 2013 FIA World Endurance champion, will share his experiences as the highlighted guest speaker at the annual Picnic in the Paddock on Saturday, Aug. 19. The annual picnic is traditionally a fan favorite during the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, which will be held Aug. 17-20 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Joining Kristensen on stage will be noted motorsports historian Murray Smith, who will assuredly bring out some of the best stories about Kristensen’s travel and experiences.
Kristensen’s racing career spanned 37 years, and “Mr. Le Mans” became the most decorated sports car driver in motorsports history. Kristensen will reflect on his races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during his time competing at the Monterey Sports Car Championships events while touring with the American Le Mans Series, of which he was the 2002 series champion. His career began on the Danish go-kart circuits, capturing series titles from 1984 to 1986. Kristensen won Formula 3 Championships in Japan (1991) and Germany (1993). He made his mark on the sport at endurance events, setting records for the most victories at 24 Hours of Le Mans (nine) and 24 Hours of Sebring (six).
Kristensen has been a Rolex Testimonee since 2000, and since retiring from driving at the end of the 2014 season, he has stayed involved with the sport as an ambassador for Audi and acted as a public speaker sharing his experience of the importance of teamwork. His numerous honors include being appointed Knight of the Order of the Dannebrog by the Queen of Denmark and being voted his country’s “Sportsman of the Decade” and Autosport’s “Sports Car Driver of the Decade” from 2000 to 2009.
The Picnic in the Paddock begins at 12:30 p.m. outside of the Rolex Drivers’ Club at Turn 3 and provides a rare opportunity for fans to bring their lunch, listen to stories and ask questions. Past illustrious guests have included fellow Rolex Testimonee Sir Jackie Stewart, Sir Stirling Moss, Dan Gurney, Bob Bondurant, Bobby Unser, Martin Brundle, Bob Tullius, Scott Pruett, Tommy Milner, and David Hobbs.
This year’s Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion will honor the Diamond Jubilee of Formula Junior and the 70th anniversary of famed automaker Ferrari as well as celebrating the 60th anniversary of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.