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9-time Le Mans champion Tom Kristensen to retire from racing at end of the month

11/19/2014 09:35 EST | Updated 01/19/2015 05:59 EST
COPENHAGEN - Nine-time Le Mans champion Tom Kristensen will retire from racing at the end of the month.

The 47-year-old Dane, one of the greatest endurance racers of all time, said Wednesday that his last race will be the Six Hours of Sao Paulo in Brazil on Nov. 30.

"I have crossed the finish line. I have grown up. I have been told that you know when it's time to stop. I have not had that feeling until now," Kristensen said. "Over the past years I have felt that staying in peak physical condition and keeping my weight down have required more and more from my body."

Kristensen earned his first 24 Hours of Le Mans victory in 1997. He then won six straight from 2000-05, taking him past the six-win record held by Belgian driver Jacky Ickx. He added two more wins in 2008 and 2013.

He has also has won the Sebring 12 Hours six times in a 25-year professional career.

Kristensen, who has three children with longtime partner Hanne, said he will continue in his current role as a Formula One driver steward and also work with Audi, "but not in the cockpit."

Born in northwestern Denmark, Kristensen started his career in 1984 and won several karting titles before racing Formula 3 and touring cars.

"I might be able to see a few more of my hometown Hobro's football matches together with my kids, who knows," Kristensen said.

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