A twenty year veteran of the team, Butch first drove for Dyson Racing in the 1995 24 Hours of Daytona. He has won three championships for the team, placed second four times and third twice. One of racing’s more celebrated sports car drivers and a fan favorite, Butch has thirty-four victories under the Dyson Racing banner, including two wins in the 24 Hours of Daytona.
In 2014, he drove the team’s new Bentley Continental GT3 in the second half of the Pirelli World Challenge season starting at Road America where he finished sixth and fourth in the inaugural race weekend, and set the second fastest race laps in both races. At the fourth race weekend for the team at Sonoma, he qualified second and finished third in the first race of the weekend and backed it up with another podium finish at the penultimate race of the year at Miller Motorsports Park. Butch is no stranger to the Bentley marque, having driven for Bentley in the 2001 and 2002 24 Hours of Le Mans, winning the GTP class in 2001 in the Bentley EXP-8.
Commenting on his 2014 season in the Bentley Continental GT3, 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. The driving level is good and people are tough and fair so you are able to really joust with people and enjoy the racing. Its sprint format makes it more of a pure form of racing and you just drive as hard as you can. I think I have passed more cars in this half season than I did in the prior fifteen years!”
Butch celebrated his 100th American Le Mans Series race at Lime Rock in 2012. Asked to talk about his many years driving with Butch, James Weaver said, “As a driver, he combines searing pace with an astonishingly safe pair of hands. As a team mate, he is totally reliable, trustworthy and unfailingly gracious. Butch is an enormous asset to Dyson Racing. His speed alone would have guaranteed him a place on the team, but it is his ability to jump into the car, with any set-up, and within literally two laps, extract a time from it that makes him such a devastating asset. It is this ability, more than anything, which allows him to provide such a crucial ingredient, vital to the team’s success in racing.”
“My first memory is of sitting on a blanket at Nelson Ledges, watching my dad race,” remembers Butch Leitzinger. “I was three years old at the time. For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to race cars.”
Butch’s dad, Bob Leitzinger, an accomplished racer in his own right, did not really want his son to be a racer. (“Even watching my sons race BMX bicycles made me nervous.”) He did not put his foot down and categorically say no, but he encouraged Butch to explore more “normal” sports – baseball, football, soccer, etc. But when Butch turned sixteen, he started racing in a local Pennsylvania off-road series. In the spirit of “if you can’t fight them, join them,” his father and brother both raced with Butch on the weekends, with the three of them taking home the trophies more often than not.
Since then, Butch has won the 24 Hours of Daytona three times, the World Sportscar championship twice and both the CanAm championship and IMSA GTU championships. He has won in Trans Am, finished on the podium at The 24 Hours of Le Mans, has three wins in NASCAR’s Busch North Series and a podium finish in the Watkins Glen NASCAR Busch race.
“When I first started racing, I had open wheel aspirations. That was the direction expected for up and coming racers. I looked into it, but without the ability to bring money to the table, it is tough to break into. But I am very glad that I am in sports car racing. I enjoy the team mentality, working together: that is my kind of racing.”