New Zealand Porsche motor racing driver Jono Lester has finished in 13th position in his debut in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup on Sunday, contested at the Monza circuit in support of the Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix.

The 20-year old kiwi was part of the 32-strong Supercup field, the largest grid in five seasons of racing, competing in the Braun-backed Porsche AG Guest Car.

Lester adapted quickly to the unfamiliar Monza circuit in Friday’s 45-minute free practice session, reacclimatising himself behind the wheel of a Porsche GT3 Cup Car before qualifying in position 20, 1.357 seconds shy of pole sitter Nick Tandy.

“My first reaction to the Monza circuit was made even more exciting by the fact that it was the first time I’d driven a race car since February,” Lester said.

“Tackling Ascari and approaching Parabolica for the first time was just incredible, as was the level of competition of the Porsche Supercup grid.”

Lester made a clean start in the 14-lap race, and was locked in battle for the duration with 2005 Supercup champion Alessandro Zampedri, former Porsche Factory Driver Sascha Maassen and Polish entrant Kuba Giermaziak.

Such was the frantic race environment the Supercup has become famous for, Lester traded place, paint and panel to cross the line in 13th position at the finish, nine seconds shy of race winner Nick Tandy and 4/10ths of a second off the fastest race lap.

“It’s been a remarkable day – I just can’t put into words just how awesome this championship is. For a 30-minute race to be all over in what seemed like a heartbeat gives you an idea of just how much I had to focus out there.

“I drove a clean race, just joining the dots and making sure the tyres held up for the duration. I raced hard but took few risks as this was always going to be a race of attrition and I needed to ensure I was there at the chequered flag.

“It’s just another level altogether. The attacks were coming left, right and centre and it was just a pleasure to be a part of. I have to extend my thanks to Porsche for this opportunity and now that I’ve had my taste of the Supercup, I can see why it’s such an addictive flavour!”