BTCC: Team PSP driver profiles

Race and Test Drivers David Leslie Lives: Banbury, Oxfordshire Born: 9 November 1953 A truly seasoned driver, David Leslie returns to the British Touring Car Championship following his runner-up position in 1999 with Nissan. The Banbury,...

Race and Test Drivers

David Leslie Lives: Banbury, Oxfordshire Born: 9 November 1953

A truly seasoned driver, David Leslie returns to the British Touring Car Championship following his runner-up position in 1999 with Nissan.

The Banbury, Oxfordshire-based ace - who finished runner-up in 1999 and helped Nissan win the coveted Manufacturers' crown in '98 and '99 - will also play a major role in the development of the Impian as Team PSP attempts to gain a foothold in this highly competitive championship.

His competitive motorsport experience is extensive, starting at the tender age of 13 in karts, ultimately winning national and European championships. In1976 he moved into Formula Ford, winning national championships. From 1984 to 1991 David made a name for himself in sports cars with famous marques such as Ecurie Ecosse, Jaguar and Aston Martin before entering Touring Cars in 1992 and earning a reputation as one of the canniest and most reliable drivers in the formula.

The 48-year-old last competed in the BTCC in 2000, in a one-off meeting for Honda at Thruxton. He also raced that year in the European Touring Car Championship, again with Honda. Last year he drove in the Speedvision World Challenge in America.

The experienced Scot will race one of two Team PSP Impians in 2002, the Malaysian manufacturer's debut season in Britain's premier series.

David Wong, Team PSP Principal, says: "David is an ideal choice for us as a new team in the BTCC. He is one of the most experienced touring car drivers in Britain and knows what is needed to win races. And his engineering knowledge as a driver will be invaluable to the programme. We are very excited and pleased that he has agreed to join us."

Leslie is excited about the team's prospects. "This team is climbing a steep learning curve very fast and very impressively, without making a lot of wild claims. We're all looking forward to measuring ourselves against the establishment as the new boys in BTCC."

He continued: "I've been very impressed with the car's potential. The road car is a very good basis for a racer. The shell is remarkably strong and provides a good platform for a very effective suspension layout. Hats off to the engineers who laid out the road car suspension design- and Team PSP's design team have taken full advantage of the starting point they've been given."

Career rundown:
1999 - BTCC Nissan, Runner Up
1998 - BTCC Nissan
1997 - BTCC Nissan Primera RML prepared.
1996 - BTCC with Honda Accord, 4th overall.
1995 - BTCC with MSD Honda Accord.
1994 - BTCC in a Mazda but only completed half a season due to budget problems.
1993 - BTCC in a Vauxhall Cavalier for Ecurie Ecosse, 8th overall.
1992 - BTCC in a Vauxhall Cavalier for Ecurie Ecosse, 7th overall.
1991 - Contested 2 rounds of BTCC in a BMW.
1989-90 - World Sports car Series with Aston Martin.
1988 - Le Mans with Mazda and 2nd in the Thundersaloons Championship.
1987 - 2nd in the World Sports car Championship, C2 Class (Ecosse).
1980 - Contested the British Formula Atlantic Series.
1979 - Shellsport Martini Championship, 1st.
1978 - BARC Formula Ford Championship, 1st.
Scottish Karting champion 5 times, 1st title in 1969.

Phil Bennett
Lives: Kingswinford, UK
Born: 6/10/71

With his confident driving style Phil Bennett returns to BTC Championship this season, following his dramatic entrance onto the Touring Car scene with Team Egg Sport last year. Spanning 11 years, Phil's driving career has seen him move from rallying to circuit racing and competing successfully in TOCA Renault Spider Cup and BRSCC Super Coupe Cup. Taking his career to the next level in the BTC Championship, Phil will be looking to build on his successes in the championship last year with Team PSP in 2002.

Phil Bennett said "It didn't take long to make up my mind to join Team PSP. This is a serious team with long-term plans, superb support from PETRONAS and Proton, a strong design team and a burning desire to win. We know that as a team we have a lot to learn about BTCC and we're not expecting miracles overnight. But there's a real buzz about Team PSP - we're keen to go racing".

Career profile:


2001 - BTCC Touring class for Team Egg Sport in Vauxhall Astra Coupe. Final position: 4th, 3 race wins
2000 - National Saloon Car Cup - a one-off race with Mardi Gras
1999 - TOCA Renault Spider Cup - 3rd overall.
1998 - BRSCC Super Coupe Cup - 2nd Rover 216 Gti with 5 wins from 12 rounds and Mintex Driver of the Year award. BRSCC Tomcat/Vento challenge - 1 win from 1 round plus lap record at Donington Park.
1995 - KMCC All Rounders Champion.
1994 - AWMMC Rally Championship in Gp N Vauxhall Nova GTE.
1993 - TKM Karting.
1991 - AWMMC Rally Championship in Gp N Vauxhall Astra GTE.

Test Drivers:

Mashlino Buang (27)

Unlike his teammate Fariqe, Mashlino arrives on the scene with an established saloon car history.

The 27 year-old first raced at Johor Bahru in 1996, embarking on a campaign in the hotly contested Silverstone Proton Series and winning in 1998. Last year he moved into a Honda Civic and immediately demonstrated his pace with four pole positions.

Team Petronas will draw on Mashlino's experience and acknowledged ability to fast-track the development of local talent for its expanding international program. He is currently involved with a gruelling driver development program under Richard Lester in New Zealand.

Fariqe Hairuman (18)

Much like his F1 hero, Kimi Raikkonen, Fariqe's entry into the high profile world of international Touring Car racing is something of a fairy tale. Scouts alerted David Wong to the keen youngster who was given the chance to prove himself on the track. His instant turn of speed and uncanny car control rewarded the team's judgement and quickly had learned heads nodding in agreement.

Fariqe's out-of-the-box skill and youthful exuberance now only needs to be tempered by the rigours of international competition. Already achieving podium performances in local Asian Touring Car and Johor Super Saloons, Fariqe will soon be given the chance to test the exciting new Proton Touring Car both here in the UK and at home in Malaysia.

-psp-

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About this article
Series BTCC
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen , David Leslie , Phil Bennett