David Leslie was born in Dumfries, Scotland. He won the Scottish Karting championship 5 times, the first title coming in 1969.
David graduated to cars and raced in Formula Ford 1600. Driving a Royale RP24 he was instantly on the pace and won the championship in 1978. He went on to win the Shellsport Martini Championship title the following year.
He drove in F3 for Eddie Jordan Racing, in 1981 along side David Sears and also raced sports cars, competing in Thundersports with Richard Copeman and with Ecurie Ecosse in WEC during 1986, finishing 2nd in the C2 class at Le Mans.
In 1987 he finished second in the World Sportscar Championship in the C2 class at the wheel of an Ecosse which led to a Le Mans drive with Mazda in 1988 while also contesting rounds of the Thundersaloon series.
A move to Aston Martin followed and David was part of the squad who drove the stunning AMR1. The mighty V8 racer that saw Aston return to top-flight endurance racing. The sight and sound of the car will be long remembered, and David has happy memories of driving the Aston. A car that he drove again in Historic Group C events at a number of tracks.
Throughout the 1990s David was a top driver in the BTCC, competing in his first full season with the Ecurie Ecosse Vauxhall in 1992 and taking his first win a year later. He also secured a total of 6 pole positions over those 2 years, both of which ended in top 10 championship placements.
1994 was an unsuccessful season in a Mazda, but for 1995 he joined Honda as they entered the series for the first time. The car was late getting onto the track in pre-season, and reliability as initially poor, however he finished 10th overall after a strong end to the season. 1996 started badly with several collisions, but a victory in the British Grand Prix support meeting kick-started a strong 2nd half of the season, allowing him to snatch 4th overall at the final round of the season.
For 1997 James Thompson and Gabriele Tarquini raced the Hondas and Leslie switched to Nissan alongside Anthony Reid. Again the car was initially uncompetitive, and much of the credit for its eventual success is widely attributed to Leslie, who finished as runner up to Laurent Aïello in 1999. The company pulled out after that, and Leslie did only occasional races in 2000, and contest the Speedvision Challenge in the USA in 2001. He joined Proton in the BTCC for the 2002 and 2003 seasons, but the project was not a great success, and Leslie has since done commentary for Eurosport on the World Touring Car Championship series.
During his motorsport career David has also been involved in team management, and along with his father, ran David Leslie Racing a team that was successful in Formula Ford 1600 and Formula Vauxhall Junior. A number of household names drove for the equipe including Allan McNish, David Coulthard, Dario Franchitti, Jamie Campbell- Walter and Simon Harrison - all who have won championships at some point in their own careers.
David owns a Lola Mk.1 sportsracer and his old Royale RP24 and races at historic meetings.
David died on 30th March 2008 after a private jet on which he was travelling crashed into a house in Farnborough, London, shortly after take-off from Biggin Hill Airport. It is reported that just before the crash the plane suffered severe engine problems. All five occupants were killed upon impact, including fellow racing driver and team owner Richard Lloyd. They were traveling to the Nogaro Circuit in France to test for Lloyd's Apex Motorsport Jaguar in readyness for the FIA GT3 European Championship.