Jono LesterJono Lester will return to his home circuit of Manfeild this weekend to take the grid for the 57th New Zealand Grand Prix, and the final round of the 2012 Toyota Racing Series.

Sitting seventh overall in the points standings as the leading rookie driver, Lester has competed in the Grand Prix just once before, as a 14-year old behind the wheel of a Formula Ford in 2004.

The 22-year old, now based in Auckland, is excited to compete for New Zealand’s most illustrious piece of silverware on the circuit built by his grandparents Rob and Wendy in 1973.

“It’s definitely the event I’ve been the most excited for,” Lester said.

“We tested here pre-season along with the other kiwi drivers and that should be an advantage, especially in the early stages, when we begin our free practice on Thursday.”

The fourth round of the championship over the weekend at Hampton Downs was challenging for Lester, who struggled again in qualifying managing just 12th position, improving to tenth and sixth in the opening two races.

Improving from a starting position of 12th to eighth in the final race, Lester was hit and spun from behind by fellow Kiwi Damon Leitch two corners from the finish of the 20-lap NZ Motor Cup.

Despite losing valuable points in the incident, Lester retained his rookie points lead from Austrian driver Lucas Auer; nephew of former F1 great Gerhard Berger.

“We have some regrouping to do after Hamptons to put us in the best position possible for Manfeild.

“Everyone will be throwing caution to the wind in that race, it’s going to be a cracker!”

Lester is supported in his campaign by the New Zealand Motorsport Trust & The Lion Foundation, and partnered with Counties Toyota, TradeZone Industrial, Ports of Auckland, Vortex Racewear, Hornet Nutrition, Opti-Flex, Chemz, Webdesign, iSign it, R Redpath Limited, Sony Electronics, Tissot, Loaded Sports Drink and Zero Water.

Photo by Bruce Jenkins/TRS