Kiwi Jono Lester has announced his re-signing with the PETRONAS Syntium Team, returning to Japan for the 2013 Super Taikyu Endurance Series.
23-year old Lester, who is based on Auckland’s North Shore, will once again drive the #28 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 which he piloted to second overall in the 2012 championship.
He will be partnered by former Super GT Champion Tatsuya Kataoka and experienced Malaysian driver Fariqe Hairuman.
With GT racing worldwide in a strong period of growth, Super Taikyu plans to expand its borders to South Korea, hosting the second of its seven championship rounds at the new Autopia circuit near Inje County.
Autopia is still under construction and is nearing completion of its magnificent facility.
The format of the races has also been revised, with the common 3-hour format complimented by Sprint events at Autopia and Suzuka, and longer 5 & 7-hour races at Motegi and Fuji respectively.
“It’s great to be joining the PETRONAS Syntium Team again for 2013 to fight for the Super Taikyu crown,” Lester commented.
“In the second half of last season the #28 crew really gelled as a unit and we were a race winning package, so I have high hopes for the season.”
Last season Lester achieved three pole positions, a race win and a course lap record at Fuji Speedway, but knows that more will be required of him to win the overall title in 2013.
“The new race formats are exciting. Of course as a driver we want to get as much seat time as possible so longer races are always welcomed.
“The plan to race in South Korea signals the growth of Super Taikyu, as does the added competition with teams coming over from Super GT.
“We are under no illusion that the challenge ahead of us this year will be tough, and I relish the opportunity of taking it to them in our PETRONAS Syntium Team Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3.”
The change is driver line-ups will also strengthen the team as a whole, Lester believes.
“We had the opportunity to evaluate our package in the off-season and bringing Fariqe over to our side of the garage presented a lot of positives. He is a vastly experienced driver and the team chemistry is strong with him.”
The announcement completes a busy calendar for Lester, which also includes selected endurance events in New Zealand in the Fastway Racing Porsche 997 GT3 and a new challenge: the D1NZ Drifting Championship, which begins late in 2013.
It is also expected that Lester will return to the V8 SuperTourers for their Endurance Championship from October to December.
“It’s quite a mix of cars, and all require different disciplines and approaches from a driver. It will be important to be well prepared for each, especially drifting which will be the biggest transition, but it should be great fun nonetheless!”
Lester will be supported throughout the 2013 season by key partners including Vortex Racewear, Purechoice New Zealand, R Redpath Limited, Opti-Flex, Fastway Couriers, Robbie Bird Wines, CRC MotorNews.co.nz, Mako Networks, iSign it, Sony New Zealand, Sony Xplod, ThrillPledge and Webdesign.
More details about Jono and his season can be found at www.jonolester.com, or by following ‘Jono Lester’ on Facebook or @jonolester on Twitter. Search the hashtag #flyingkiwi for related social media content online.
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