Motorsport Heroes: How Kristensen went from bank clerk to F3 ace

Charles Bradley

In this clip, Kristensen recalls the struggle he had to get noticed by teams to give him a chance to display his talents – as he was working in a bank to pay the bills!

Long before he’d go on to set a new record of nine Le Mans 24 Hours victories, Kristensen says beating Hakkinen’s best F3 lap time at German GP venue Hockenheim was a moment that was both crucial to his career development and inner belief in his own talents.

“I was racing, but it was tough times,” says Kristensen. “I got a chance at Brno [in 1989] with an older car. Michael was at that race, his career was on fire.

“[Coming] from Denmark, there was nobody, the was no funding to help Danish drivers. It’s basically three years, I managed to get a job at my first application, I was a bank clerk. One time they asked me in the middle of the summer if I had a truck license, and I said ‘yeah, sure, I’m a driver’ and then I was driving the bank bus for some time around in the small cities.

“It wasn’t until the beginning of 1991, I got the call from a F3 team in Germany and I won the championship. Then in Hockenheim, I beat [Mika's] lap record from the year before. Of course my car was more sophisticated and more developed, but it meant so much to me [Mika laughs] – hey, come on!

“You guys were racing in Formula 1, I had to find anything I could, any little proof that at least I had a little bit of talent.”

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