DETROIT (November 16, 1999) - Californian Bill Lester has been selected to take the next step in Championship Auto Racing Teams' African-American Driver Development Program, a test session in an Indy Lights car on Wednesday, Dec. 1 at Firebird International Raceway. Lester's test will be supervised by representatives of Team KOOL Green, which campaigned Irish driver Jonny Kane in the 1999 PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship. Lester, who resides in Oakland, qualified for the upcoming test following his performance in a day-long test session in a Toyota Atlantic car on Oct. 26 at Buttonwillow Raceway in California. As part of the African-American Driver Development Program, announced July 1 in Washington D.C. by CART Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Craig, CART worked with the African-American-owned Miller Racing Group to identify qualified African-American drivers to participate in a Toyota Atlantic test session. The session would serve as a reference point from which the drivers can approach sponsors and race teams in an effort to advance their careers. David Francis Jr. of Los Angeles and Andrew Kelley of Columbus, Ohio joined Lester at the Atlantic test session. "After having the tremendous experience of testing the Cal Wells-PPI Formula Atlantic car, I am now extremely excited to have the opportunity to test the Team KOOL Green Indy Lights car," Lester said. "I know they are a first-class operation and I am honored to have the chance to demonstrate my driving ability for them. "The entire CART driver development program has been a blessing to me. Having tried for many years to climb the ladder in motorsports, this test represents another positive step towards achieving my goal. I am hopeful that my testing will lead to a full-time opportunity to compete in either the Toyota Atlantic or PPG-Dayton Indy Lights series." "Everyone at Team KOOL Green is looking forward to the test," said Lou Schollum, Indy Lights team manager for Team KOOL Green. "We're happy to play a part in CART's Driver Development Program but, from a selfish standpoint, we're always looking for drivers who can make a contribution to our team, and Bill [Lester] clearly has lots of potential. "He's in for a real workout. Firebird East is a good test track, and we did some of our initial tests with KOOL drivers Mark Hotchkis, Chris Simmons, Naoki Hattori and Jonny Kane there, so we'll have some pretty good yardsticks by which we can judge his performance." "His Toyota Atlantic test at Buttonwillow Raceway showed that Bill Lester is a driver of significant skill," said Andrew Craig, CART President and Chief Executive Officer. "He has earned the right to take the next step in our Driver Development Program, and we're pleased to be working with Team KOOL Green to provide him with the opportunity to advance his racing career even further." Lester began racing professionally career in 1989 and is experienced in both road racing and karting. He also has experience in NASCAR Busch Grand National, SCCA Trans-Am and IMSA competition. He has a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley and has taken a leave of absence from his job as a Research and Development Project Manager at Hewlett-Packard Company to pursue his lifelong dream of driving race cars.