Born in Bucharest, Cristea in considered to be Romania's best ever racing driver.
Petre Cristea was born in Bucharest, he got his driver license in 1925, by saying he was 18 when his real age was 16. Cristea in considered to be Romania's best ever racing driver.
He entered the 1934 and 1935 Monte Carlo Rallies, finishing 18th and 15th driving both times in a modified Ford.
Then in 1936 he won the Monte Carlo Rally together with motorcycle champion Zamfirescu in a specially rebuilt Ford V8, he became the first and only Romanian to achieve that feat. It was also the first victory for Ford.
In 1937, driving Ford V8, he came 7th out of the 172 contestants in Monte Carlo Rally and would have won again but for being penalised for the dimensions of the fenders on his Ford.
He mostly entered sports car races and hill climbs with a BMW 328 and in 1938, he took part in Portuguese Grand Prix, winning the sports car class. At Gross Glockner in Austria, he finished second in the sports car class and in 1939, at the Eifelrennen in Germany, he won the sports category with the BMW, setting a 115 kph lap record only beaten in 1953 by Stirling Moss.
He won at La Turbie in France, came second in Finish Grand Prix, sixth in Luxembourg Grand Prix and at the Grand Prix in Bucharest, he came second behind Hans Stuck in a 600 HP Auto Union.
In January 1969, Cristea founded the "Autoturism" magazine. Owned by the Romanian Auto Club (ACR), today it is the most popular auto magazine in Romania. Cristea also wrote some technical books, including a volume about driving racing cars: Cum devii campion (How to become a champion).