Les Leston

Les Leston

16/12/1920

Les Leston began racing with his SS100 in 1949 after which he turned to F3 in 1950, winning the british Championship in 1953. He participated in 3 Grand Prix. He won the British Saloon Car Championship in 1958 and the British GT Championship in 1961.

Les Leston began racing with in 1949 with his Jaguar SS100. In 1950 he turned to single-seaters with a Keift  in 500cc Formula 3. In 1951 he won 6 races and established himself as one of the stars of the class.

He scored one of the early British wins on the Continent in 1952 at the Luxembourg GP and finished runner-up in the Championship with his own Leston Special F3 Car. He won 16 races and set lap recods at Brands, Silverstone, Porrentruy, Rouen and Namur. He won the British F3 hill climb Championship and the BRDC Seaman Trophy.

In 1953 he became a works Cooper driver and despite winning 18 races, he finished runner up in the championship for the seconf year.

Finally in 1954 he claimed the F3 crown at the wheel of his works Cooper before concentrating on sports car racing driving a Connaught sports car for the Peter Bell Stable. He won Won 17 races in F3 and Formula Libre.

In 1955 he became a works driver for F1 Connaught GP Team as well as running his own Cooper Sports Car. During the year he won 17 F3 and 1500 Sports Car races.

Les mainly raced John Willment's Cooper sports in 1956, but was also still a works Connaught driver and he drove a Connaught B-Alta in the Italian GP and he took third place in the Glover Trophy in early April at Goodwood. He was th in a Cooper-Climax T39 (PHO6) in the British Grand Prix Formula 2 Race, 6th in the Bank Holiday Formula 2 race at Brands Hatch. He then came second at the Sussex Trophy at Goodwood in September and 6th in the International Gold Cup at Oulton Park before racing a Connaught B-Type (B6) in the non-championship BRSCC Formula 1 Race at Brands in October finishing in 4th place.

In 1957 He was a works driver for three factory teams, Connaught, BRM and Aston Martin. He raced his own Formula 2 Cooper in national events, winning 8 races. He drove for BRM in the British GP and he took sixth place in the Nurburgring 1000 Km for Aston Martin. He finished 5th in the Grand Prix de Pau driving a Connaught B-Type (B2)

In 1958 he was left shaken up afer escaping from a massive crash at Caen when his F2 Lotus seized, and he wound down his racing to concentrate on his expanding business, making a fortune during the 1960s in racewear and auto accessories. He raced and rallied his own Riley 1.5, winning 16 events an the British Saloon Car Championship. He continued with the Riley in 1959 winning 11 events.

1960 saw Leston back as a works driver, this time for Volvo, winning 8 events for them and for Rootes driving in Rallies.

He then had great fun from 1961 to 1963 in his red Lotus Elite with the famous 'DAD 10' plate. Winning 14 races and the British GT Championship in 1961, 8 races in 1962 and 3 in 1963.

He was also a works driver for Ford America in 1961, raced at Le Mans 24hrs 5 times, competed in the Monte Carlo Rally 5 times and the RAC Rally 4 times. He has also driven for the works Standard Triumph Team and Austin Healey Team, competed in the Alpine Rally 4 times, the Leige/Sofia/Leige 3 times and the Nurburgring 1000km 3 times

After he finished racing he relocated to Hong Kong where he made a name as a broadcaster. He is now retired and living in the UK.

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