Being a successful businessman had its perks for Bruce Leven, as his Bayside Disposal waste management company allowed the Seattle entrepreneur to pursue his dreams.

Throughout the Eighties, Leven competed at the top level of North American sports car racing. Holding his own as a gentleman driver, he surrounded himself with international stars that led to success – including three victories for his team in the Twelve Hours of Sebring – eventually enabling him to secure major sponsorship.

Leven’s high-water mark came in 1988. Hans Stuck, Klaus Ludwig and Sarel van der Merwe finished fourth in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in the No. 86 Texaco Havoline Porsche 962. Six weeks later, Stuck and Ludwig claimed the outright victory in the Twelve Hours of Sebring, giving the team its second consecutive victory in the event.

“I was one of the lucky guys who was able to really experience the heyday of racing and to be able to live through the span of technology,” said Stuck, who will be Grand Marshal of the 63rd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida.

“Driving a 962 Porsche with all kinds of technical gimmicks, lots of downforce with good tires was really fantastic. I had the biggest success of my career with Porsche, when I had the chance to become a factory driver. I really enjoyed the chance to drive in the States with Bob Akin and Bruce Leven. Getting to drive the Bayside Porsche with Walter Gerber as the team manager and Klaus Ludwig was a fantastic opportunity. I count that among the most exciting and most pleasurable experiences I had.”

Looking to go racing, Leven purchased a Porsche GT car from Brumos Porsche’s Peter Gregg, who helped him launch his career in the late Seventies. Leven upgraded to the Porsche 935 by 1980, starting second and finishing 10th at Sebring.

The Bayside Disposal team had a breakthrough victory in 1981, when Leven joined Hurley Haywood and Al Holbert in winning the Twelve Hours of Sebring in the Bayside Disposal/Brumos Porsche 935.

Leven took the next step in 1984, purchasing Porsche 962 chassis #001. Derek Bell and Al Holbert first co-drove the new car (their own 962 wasn’t ready), finishing second at Riverside, while Leven and John Paul Jr. finished 12th in the inaugural Camel Continental at Watkins Glen International. Bob Wollek gave Leven his first victory with the 962 in 1985, followed by a pair of triumphs the following year.

The team expanded to two cars and won five races in 1987. Jochen Mass won the pole for the Rolex 24 At Daytona, and then joined Bobby Rahal in winning the Twelve Hours of Sebring in the No. 86 Budweiser Porsche 962. Ludwig won at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Mass and Rahal triumphed at Mid-Ohio, Rahal and Mass finished one-two at Columbus, and Mass captured the season finale at Del Mar.

The team seemed to be ready to continue its momentum in 1988. However, Sebring proved to be the team’s final victory. With competition getting tougher with the onslaught of the new Jaguar, Nissan and Toyota prototypes, Leven purchased the latest 962 for 1990. Wollek won the pole for the Rolex 24 but failed to finish. The team’s final race was at Sebring, where Wollek, Dominic Dobson and van der Merwe started second but finished 40th.

With limited results, he sold the team later in 1990. Always a staunch businessman, he made a good return on his investment, and continues to enjoy success in the waste management field.

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