A VERY special tribute will be on display, and on track, this weekend as Knockhill and all of the Scottish motor sport community pay tribute to David Leslie, one of the most successful and influential racing drivers and mentors to come out of Scotland, and indeed the UK.
The Super Touring Car Festival, supported by EventScotland and Fife Council, has been named in David’s memory and will feature a display of his former race cars and his family will be present too at this special event.
Widely credited as the man who – together with his father, David Senior, and under the banner of David Leslie Racing – discovered Alan McNish, Dario Franchitti and David Coulthard, David Leslie was truly a hero of Scottish motor sport.
Known in racing paddocks throughout Europe as friendly and approachable, he was a loyal team player as well as a highly-skilled and talented driver who could communicate successfully with race engineers to ensure successful car development.
Scottish karting champion on no less than five occasions, David won the Scottish Formula Ford Championship in 1978.
He went on to race in British F3 and his involvement with Ecurie Ecosse led to the World Sportscar Championship and then to the British Touring Car Championship. Leslie’s BTCC career encompassed team drives with Vauxhall, Mazda, Nissan and Proton.
Most notably, his development work in 1998 with the Nissan Primera (the car racing at Knockhill this weekend) led to Laurent Aïello’s BTCC title in 1999, with David finishing second in the series.
As well as lecturing in Motorsport Management at Swansea Metropolitan University and commentating for Eurosport, he was on his way to test with Apex Motorsport for the GT3 European Championship at Nogaro in France when, tragically, he lost his life in an aviation accident in March of 2008.
Says a spokesperson: “We are delighted to have a selection of his race cars here this weekend, be sure to come and see them up close in the pit lane garages.
“We’d also like to pay thanks to the owners of those cars for helping us to pay tribute to a true racing hero; who played a key role in shaping Scottish, British and world motor sport history.”
Stuart Gray, Knockhill’s events director, added: “We are both privileged and honoured to be remembering David in this way.
“We have star-studded names attending and they hold David in equal stance and most of the racing community in Britain.
“His efforts changed motor sport history and created Scottish champions around the world, so his legacy will live on for ever.”
Paul Bush OBE, director of Events at VisitScotland, said: “David Leslie was a hugely important part of Scotland’s motorsport heritage, and I have no doubt that this Super Touring event, with its fine selection of Leslie’s race cars, will pay fitting tribute.
“Scotland is the perfect stage for events, and we look forward to welcoming motoring fans to Knockhill this weekend.”
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Contact: Stuart Gray