Les Leston

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Les Leston
Born (1920-12-16)16 December 1920
Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, England
Died 13 May 2012(2012-05-13) (aged 91)
Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, England
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality United Kingdom British
Active years 19561957
Teams Connaught, Cooper, BRM
Entries 3 (2 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 0
Career points 0
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First entry 1956 Italian Grand Prix
Last entry 1957 British Grand Prix

Alfred Lazarus Fingleston (16 December 1920 – 13 May 2012), better known as Les Leston, was a British racing driver, born in Bulwell, Nottinghamshire.[1]

Early life[edit]

In his early life Leston was a successful drummer for the jazz band The Clay Pigeons. He also fought in WW2 as a mid upper gunner in a Lancaster.

Soon after the war finished he and his father 'Monty' set up a successful aeronautical accessories business, Aero Spares, a company that benefited from a variety of technical appliances made for war planes.

Racing career[edit]

He started racing in a Jaguar SS100 before acquiring a Cooper and his own Leston Special. He became a Cooper works driver in 1954 and took the British Formula Three championship in the same year. He participated in three Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 2 September 1956. He scored no championship points. Leston won the Luxembourg Grand Prix in 1952.

After his racing career[edit]

After escaping from a life-threatening crash at Caen in 1958 when his F2 Lotus seized, he concentrated on his ever expanding motorcar accessories business – the field that he was best known for. Les Leston Accessories manufactured and sold aftermarket parts for cars, such as steering wheels and gear shifters. Later he expanded into clothing, and was instrumental in pioneering the development of safety equipment such as flameproof overalls and properly constructed crash helmets.[1] He was no stranger to the track, though, having great fun in the early 1960s with his red Lotus Elite - the famous DAD10.

In the late 1960s Leston became a Formula One pit reporter for the BBC, until he was replaced by Barrie Gill.

In the 1990s Leston lived in Hong Kong, where he was married twice and expanded his merchandising business to sourcing in China the giveaways, etc, that were rewards for submitting cereal box tops, etc. His lifestyle consisted of him having a large cruiser that he would take out to sea at weekends (not with Leston at the wheel!) and a jazz radio show. He was also a loved character at the bar of the Foreign Correspondents' Club. For fun he drove a BMW 1,200cc motor bike.

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 WDC Points
1956 Connaught Engineering Connaught Type B Alta Straight-4 ARG MON 500 BEL FRA GBR GER ITA
Ret
NC 0
1957 Cooper Car Company Cooper T43 Climax Straight-4 ARG MON
DNQ
500 FRA NC 0
Owen Racing Organisation BRM P25 BRM Straight-4 GBR
Ret
GER PES ITA

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Obituaries: Les Leston". The Daily Telegraph. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2012.