With a family so deeply involved in motor racing, Jono Lester attended his first race event when he was merely two weeks old – at the 1990 New Zealand Grand Prix where his father Richard came in second.
His grandparents Rob and Wendy built the Manfeild circuit in 1973 and operated it till they retired in 2003. During this time, Richard became a multiple New Zealand champion in Formula Vee, winning his last championship at 59 years old.
Upon retirement, Richard started working as a driver coach and helped many racers achieve successful careers in Formula One, V8 Supercars and European touring car racing. Besides his father, Jono’s Aunt Debbie also attained milestones in Formula Ford, Formula Pacific and endurance touring car racing.
Jono grew up around racing but the desire to race only kicked in during teenhood at the age of 13 and he began racing in Formula First, a single-seater series that precedes Formula Ford, in 2003. He came in second in his first ever race and went on to finish overall second in the series.
Significant highlights of Jono’s racing career include becoming the youngest Porsche Cup racer in the world at 16, then the youngest Porsche Cup race winner at 17. Jono was named New Zealand's Young Driver of the Year in 2007, a 2007 graduate of the prestigious Elite Motorsport Academy and a 2008 President's Scholarship winner. In 2009 he assisted Porsche AG in developing their new GT3 race cars in Bahrain and in 2010 he was awarded a Porsche Motorsport Talent Scholarship after a worldwide shootout in Italy against 11 other young drivers. He then competed in the Monza round of the Porsche Supercup. In 2011 Jono represented Team New Zealand at the World Time Attack Challenge and for 2012, he was offered the incredible opportunity to drive for PETRONAS Syntium Team in Super Taikyu.
PETRONAS Syntium Team founder and owner David Wong of DWA Motorsports has been a great supporter, mentor and advisor to Jono since he was just 14 years old.