"Les Leston"

Full Name:
Alfred Lazarus Fingleston
Born:
16th December 1920
Bulwell, Nottinghamshire
Died:
13th May 2012 (Aged 91)
Eastbourne, East Sussex
Nationality:
British
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

World War II meant that former jazz musician "Les Leston" began racing at the relatively late age of 29. He was a fixture on the British scene throughout the 1950s although he was eventually best known for the successful racewear business he ran in London’s High Holborn from 1955.

He first competed in a Jaguar saloon but it was in the thriving 500cc Formula 3 category that he made his name. He mixed with the likes of Stirling Moss and Peter Collins in 1951 and won the following year’s Luxembourg Grand Prix. Runner-up in the Autosport British F3 Championship for two years, he won the 1954 BRSCC-run series with a Cooper T31-Norton – clinching the title by half a point at the final round.

"Leston" raced Peter Bell’s Connaught ALSR in national sports car events during 1955 and made his Le Mans debut that year in Lance Macklin’s Austin Healey 100S. Unfortunately, his co-driver was involved in the build-up to the tragic accident that claimed more than 80 lives.

Grand Prix driver

He had raced a Cooper-JAP in national Formula 1 races a year previously and he then made his continental debut in that category with a works Connaught the 1955 Syracuse GP. His Connaught B-type was an early retirement from the 1956 Italian GP but he finished fourth in the following month’s BRSCC-organised non-championship race at Brands Hatch.

He failed to qualify a works Cooper T43-Climax for the 1957 Monaco GP before qualifying 12th for the British GP only to retire his works BRM P25. He also shared Roy Salvadori’s sixth-placed Aston Martin DBR1 in that year’s Nürburgring 1000Kms in what was his best international result.

"Leston" survived a high-speed accident at Caen a year later when the engine powering his Lotus 12 seized on the second lap. Having recovered, he drove a Lotus Elite in British sports car races until 1962, after which he focused on running his burgeoning business.