The news of the tragic death of racer David
Leslie brings back many memories of an immensely likeable and warm
hearted Scot that I met often when covering the wilder days of the
BTCC in the early 90s, indeed I was fortunate enough to drive
alongside him on several occasions, twice with him driving me and
twice with him very patiently acting as my “instructor” during
track test days at Silverstone.
My lasting impression of David is of a racer who
was not only very quick whether in saloons or in Le Mans sports
cars but who had an enviable reputation for being firm but fair on
track, not for him the excesses of some of the larier BTCC drivers
which may have kept him off the podium on some occasions but I’m
sure made him rather more popular with those around him and his
paddock standing was always high, he never needed to hide in the
motor home away from irate drivers. At an SMMT test day at
Silverstone some years ago I was driving David in a rare beast, a
4x4 turbo Vauxhall Cavalier, a car we both liked, when we got
caught up in someone else’s high speed accident we taking to the
gravel at around 90 mph, just missing the wall before scrabbling
back on track, a nasty few seconds with nary a blink from David, he
only commented that it was the same spot he had hit the wall
heavily in BTCC qualifying only a week before.
In recent years he had become a regular at both
Goodwood events where he happily took part in all of the
proceedings, dressed with good humour in some real spiv suits,
chatted to anyone and everyone, drove with spirit whatever he was
offered and was well liked by many of the owners lending him cars,
he always bought the cars back in one piece and scored good
results, for a professional racer David Leslie was a gentleman
among gentleman drivers.
Our thoughts are with his family.
Graham Benge - First Take Media