Lester Secures International GT Seat
Jono Lester, 22-year old motor racing driver from New Zealand, has secured an international GT endurance seat for the 2012 season, signing with the PETRONAS Syntium Team for the Super Taikyu Series, a Japanese endurance race series.
Jono Lester has secured an international GT endurance seat for the 2012 season, signing with the PETRONAS Syntium Team for the Super Taikyu Series, a Japanese endurance race series.
The PETRONAS Syntium Team are four-time defending champions in Super Taikyu, and have introduced 22-year old Lester into the team as they aim to continue their winning streak this season with a two-car Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 line-up.
"This is a terrific opportunity for me in a form of racing that I am really passionate about. Endurance racing is my dream and to begin this pathway with a championship-winning outfit like PETRONAS Syntium Team puts me in the best possible position to have a successful year in Japan.”
"Since I was a kid, I have been watching the respective Malaysian drivers that David Wong, owner and founder of PETRONAS Syntium Team, has sent to my father for training and development for more than a decade.
"I have been following David’s success stories – most notably how he has groomed Malaysian drivers into international successes and helped to develop the Japanese drivers into big-time champions."
The team boasts Japanese racing stars such as Masataka Yanagida (2010 Super GT300 champion and 2011 Super GT500 champion) and Nobuteru Taniguchi (2011 Super GT300 champion).
Lester will be at the helm of one of the two FIA GT3-spec Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG cars – commonly known as the ‘Gullwing’ – alongside Yanagida and another Japanese leading racer Tatsuya Kataoka.
The Super Taikyu Series is a six-round championship, made up of three- and four-hour endurance races.
"The team is committed to making this their fifth consecutive championship year. I want to make a quick transition into their working environment to help them achieve that goal.
"The SLS will be a different beast to what I’m most recently used to in the Toyota Racing Series. I watched the team win the Malaysian Millennium Endurance 12-hour Race at Sepang last year with the same car and was impressed with the performance. It’s a terrific car, and they have the expertise and know-how to translate that into results.”
Lester had his first drive of the SLS AMG at the Fuji Speedway last weekend, in preparation for the first round of the championship at the same venue on March 24.
The series also travels to Autopolis, Motegi, Okayama, Sugo and supports the World Touring Car Championship at their Japanese round at Suzuka in October.
To be selected by Wong to drive in Super Taikyu is Lester’s ultimate dream, knowing that Wong never has any excess baggage in his team.
"Jono is the driver of the future. I believe he has the talent and I am confident that he has the potential to become a very special racing driver. I have seen him grow up and I have followed and supported his progress over the years. It is a big challenge for Jono to race in Japan for the first time, at racing tracks and a car unfamiliar to him. However, our senior drivers and the rest of the team will be there to help Jono adapt and learn as quickly as possible to become competitive,” Wong comments.
Lester is supported in the 2012 Super Taikyu Endurance Series by PETRONAS Syntium,Opti-Flex, R Redpath Limited, Trinity Media Group, Mako Networks, Vortex Racewear and ThrillCapital.