New Zealand driver Jono Lester will lead the iconic Gulf Porsche team in the 2017 Japanese Super GT Series.
The plunge into the Japan’s benchmark sports car discipline which sees factory efforts from more than a 12 marques, realises a childhood ambition for Lester.
The 27-year-old was announced as the lead driver in the Gulf Porsche 991 GT3-R alongside Japanese racer Kyosuke Mineo at the official launch at the Tokyo Auto Salon.
Lester and Mineo, a 2012 series champion with Porsche, will run in the GT300 component of Super GT which sees a capacity grid of 32 cars for 2017.
Garnering a wealth of experience in recent seasons throughout Asia and the Antipodes, Lester is a former Porsche Motorsport Talent Scholarship winner.
Lester and Mineo will rekindle a partnership which last saw the duo contest the 2016 Suzuka 1000km race in a Direction 108 Racing-entered Lamborghini Huracan.
Gulf Racing has undergone a shake-up of its drivers, engineers and crew as it enters its second season of Super GT.
Third generation racer Lester is one of two Kiwis on the grid alongside Euro F3 ace Nick Cassidy who is returning for a second season as a factory driver for Lexus in the GT500 class.
The 2017 Japanese Super GT Series sees eight events with a mix of distances from 250km to 1000km.
Pre-season testing is scheduled for Okayama and Fuji, both across two days in March ahead of the opening round at Okayama from April 8-9.
NISMO.tv will again broadcast a livestream of each Super GT race with full English commentary.
2017 Japanese Super GT Series
Round 1 – April 8-9 Okayama
Round 2 – May 3-4 Fuji Speedway
Round 3 – May 20-21 Autopolis
Round 4 – July 22-23 Sportsland Sugo
Round 5 – August 5-6 Fuji Speedway (500km)
Round 6 – August 26-27 Suzuka Circuit (1000km)
Round 7 – October 7-8 Chang International Circuit (Thailand)
Round 8 – November 11-12 Twin Ring Motegi