Jono LesterKiwi Jono Lester will have the pleasure of being the first to race at the new Inje Speedium complex in South Korea as the Super Taikyu Endurance Series heads offshore for the second round of its 2013 championship.

Lester and Malaysian driver Fariqe Hairuman will share the #28 PETRONAS Syntium Team Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 for the event, with the format set for two 45-minute, single driver sprint races.

23-year old Lester and Hairuman will drive one race each, with the combined points going towards the overall tally for the #28 entry.

Stiff competition is expected from their #1 sister car, which dominated the 2012 championship, as well as the GTNET ADVAN Nissan GT-R which scored pole position at the season opener at Sportsland Sugo in Sendai, Japan.

“Sprint racing is something I really miss. A flat-out one hour race without any pit stops will require every ounce of concentration and speed,” Lester commented.

“I have been following the build progress of Inje and it looks like a World Class facility. It’s an honour to be the first to race there, and open our season in unfamiliar territory after the unfortunate cancellation of Sugo last month.”

Lester is referring to the heavy snowfall that blanketed the Sportsland Sugo venue in April, causing the abandonment of the scheduled 3-hour race for safety reasons.

Lester had qualified in third position for the event, after his #28 machine had topped the times sheets in practice.

“Really, our season starts here, but with the added bonus of valuable test mileage at Sugo to confirm our potential as a Championship contender in 2013.”

The Inje Speedium is around two hours drive from Seoul and is a 4.207km, FIA Grade 2 circuit with a 70,000 seat grandstand capacity.

The venue is equipped with a 134 room on-site hotel, luxury condos and commercial business facilities, and will stage championships such as Super GT and the Asian Le Mans Series later in 2013.

“I love the challenge of learning a new circuit. This one will be tricky for sure, as the brand new surface will be very slippery and ‘green’ with no previous rubber down.”

With a mid-season break following the Korean round of the Super Taikyu Endurance Series, Lester says it’s important to get the upper hand to take an advantage into the Motegi 5 Hour in July.

“We’ve lost a round now, so it’s critical to start building a buffer at Inje. The best way to do that of course, is to win both races and gain a psychological advantage as well as a competitive one.”

Lester is 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, Mako Networks, iSign it, Sony New Zealand, Sony Xplod, ThrillPledge and Webdesign.

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Photo by PETRONAS Syntium Team.