Leitzinger Thrives In PWC With Bentley

Butch Leitzinger all smiles as he enjoys his time racing a Bentley Continental GT3. [Joe Jennings Photo]

Butch Leitzinger all smiles as he enjoys his time racing a Bentley Continental GT3.  [Joe Jennings Photo]


Butch Leitzinger has been around sports-car racing all his life, first accompanying his father Bob, an accomplished racer, and upon turning 16, he began his own career. For a while, the Leitzinger family raced together until the prodigal son started to advance up the ladder of success. Since then, the second-generation driver has accumulated numerous sport-car victories and championships, many of which were earned with Dyson Racing. One notable exception was a 24 Hour of LeMans victory with a potent Bentley team.

Butch Leitzinger in action at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. [Joe Jennings Photo]

Butch Leitzinger in action at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. [Joe Jennings Photo]

When Dyson Racing backed away from sports-car racing a few years back, Leitzinger dropped off the racing stage, spending his time working his farm outside State College, PA, and keeping his hand in racing by doing demonstration runs around the country for car manufacturer Bugatti and its Veyron model.

Just when he thought his racing days had ended, Leitzinger received a call in 2014 from Rob Dyson recruiting him to drive a Bentley Continental GT3 in the Pirelli World Challenge Series for his newly reorganized team. The elder Dyson, a successful businessman and equally successful racer, had retired as a driver, and was structuring a two-car team with his son, Chris, and wanted Leitzinger as the second driver.

“It took us about one second to think who to call when we needed a driver for the second car,” Rob Dyson said. “Butch has been a rock solid performer for us over the years. He was well taught by his father – great work ethic, mechanical feel for the car and a great sense of race craft. He’s a real talent.”

Leitzinger, now 46, was surprised and thrilled to get the call, surprised because he didn’t know about Dyson’s plans and thrilled to get back into the racing mentality. As stated previously, a majority of Leitzinger’s career has been spent with Dyson and 2015 represents his 20th year with the accomplished team.

The veteran driver enjoys the PWC races as they are short in duration (approximately one hour) and due to the strength of the field, the events are intensely competitive. They also feature standing starts, which leads to considerable drama.

Commenting on his debut season in the Bentley, Butch said, “It has been a very enjoyable and challenging experience. It has been so much fun jumping into the Bentley because the car was so good from the beginning, and I was able to come back with all my old friends and go racing again. It is a really fun series to be in with very furious action. Its sprint format makes it more of a pure form of racing and you just drive as hard as you can. I think I passed more cars in this half season than I did in the prior fifteen years.”

In 2015, Leitzinger has earned a pole and several top finishes but a number of incidents, not of his making, have kept him from the top rung of the podium.

Dyson Racing is in for the long haul in PWC as is Leitzinger, so good times are predicted for this team and their skilled drivers. Just like fine wine, this potent group gets better with age.


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