Longtime sportscar entrant and driver Bruce Leven has died at the age of 79. Leven founded Bayside Disposal, the Seattle-based garbage collection and disposal firm, and grew it into an international concern, which allowed him to afford to go racing. As one of IMSA’s Gentleman Driver team owners in the late 1970s and on through the ’80s, Leven (above, Hal Crocker photo) surrounded himself with established stars, He enjoyed his first major success at Sebring in 1981 when he joined Hurley Haywood and Al Holbert in the Bayside Racing Porsche 935 to take a three-lap victory in the 12 Hours.
With the arrival of IMSA’s Grand Touring Prototype category that same season, Leven’s loyalty to Porsche meant he purchased the first 962 customer car, and his team became a regular contender with a list of drivers whose names were all familiar. Bob Wollek gave Leven and Bayside their first GTP win at Sears Point in 1985.
The Walter Gerber-led team’s best year was 1987, when it won six races from 11 starts — including the 12 Hours of Sebring, Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio, Sears Point, Columbus and Del Mar — with drivers Jochen Mass and Bobby Rahal. Bayside repeated at Sebring in ’88, winning by nine laps with Klaus Ludwig and Hans Stuck at the wheel, but then the competitiveness of the 962 began to fade as Nissan, Jaguar and Toyota got a grip on the regulations.
With the growth of CART through the ’80s, Leven decided to field a Lola-Cosworth Indycar for Dominic Dobson in ’89 and ’90, producing a handful of top-10 finishes in the fiercely competitive series before ending the effort. In recent years Leven took part in select vintage racing events, continuing to feed his need for speed. To his family and many friends in and outside the sport, Vintage Racecar extends its sincerest sympathies.