Summerton replaces Rice for Team USA
Jonathan Summerton will drive for A1 TEAM USA this weekend (Nov. 23-25) in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport event at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
Summerton, of Kissimmee, Fla., holds the distinction of being the youngest driver to stand on the podium in A1GP's two-plus seasons. Summerton was 18 when he finished second in the Feature race at Mexico City on March 18, 2007.
After starting the 2006-07 season in the all-rookie practices that begin race weekends, Summerton drove A1 TEAM USA's Lola-Zytek for the full weekend in the final four events and scored 18 points. He was sixth in the Feature at Brands Hatch, England, and fifth in the Sprints at Mexico City and Shanghai.
Summerton, 19, has never driven at Sepang, a 3.44-mile, 15-turn circuit that also holds Formula 1 and MotoGP events.
"I can't wait to get back in the 'We the People' car," Summerton said. "I have been training for the past month to be ready for my race seat. I know I will be a bit rusty in the first practice session but hopefully by qualifying I will be able to be in the top 10 and then for the races be in the top five. I am looking forward to racing on another F1 track."
Sepang is the third event of the A1GP season. Buddy Rice, of Phoenix, Ariz., drove for A1 TEAM USA in the previous two.
"Jonathan has quality experience in the 'We the People' car," A1 TEAM USA owner Rick Weidinger said. "As a team we haven't been able to find the speed we need to run at the front and that's where we want to be.
"Our goals for the season haven't changed. We want to win races and finish in the top five in the championship. We need to start scoring points and Jonathan has proven he can."
Charlie Kimball, of Camarillo, Calif., will open the event for A1 TEAM USA by driving in the two 25-minute all-rookie practices Friday. It will be his second A1GP event and his third time in the A1 TEAM USA car.
"I've been in the car a couple of times and that means I can focus more on learning the circuit and getting the most out of the 'We the People car', " Kimball said. "I can also provide more setup help to prepare the car for the rest of the race weekend.
"I am really looking forward to driving in Malaysia. I have never been there before, to the race circuit or to the country. With it being a Grand Prix circuit, I know that it will be a great challenge and a lot of fun to drive in the A1 TEAM USA car. After having been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a month ago, I know that getting back into a race car will be the perfect medicine."
Summerton, who drove for A1 TEAM USA in the A1GP test at Silverstone, England, on Aug.29, will have a one-hour practice on Friday and a one-hour practice on Saturday to prepare for qualifying and the Sprint and Feature races. Qualifying is Saturday and the two races are Sunday.