Summerton looking forward to racing at Eastern Creek A1 TEAM USA driver was fastest rookie in Australia last year SYDNEY, Australia--Jonathan Summerton made a big splash for A1 TEAM USA on Eastern Creek International Raceway's 2.44-mile...
Summerton looking forward to racing at Eastern Creek
A1 TEAM USA driver was fastest rookie in Australia last year
SYDNEY, Australia--Jonathan Summerton made a big splash for A1 TEAM USA on Eastern Creek International Raceway's 2.44-mile circuit last season when he was fastest in the Friday morning all-rookie practices for the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at Sydney, Australia.
Summerton's run on a drying track to the top spot in a field of 18 rookies earned him a promotion to A1 TEAM USA's primary driver by owner Rick Weidinger.
The 19-year-old from Kissimmee, Fla., returns this weekend (Feb. 1-3) to Eastern Creek in the "We the People" car for his eighth full A1GP round.
"I'm really looking forward to driving at Eastern Creek for the entire weekend," Summerton said. "It was an amazing feeling to finish on top of the timing sheets last year and I feel like I've got some unfinished business there. I've got an added bit of confidence in knowing it's a track I can go fast on and I've become much more experienced in the last year in the car."
Summerton was seventh in the Sprint, the team's best result this season, in the previous round at Taupo, New Zealand. Summerton took the checkered flag in eighth in the Feature, but A1GP ruled the team pitted outside the mandated pit window and a 70-second penalty dropped A1 TEAM USA to 14th. A1 TEAM USA is still looking into the matter and has responded to many worldwide fans of the team that are very upset and do not agree with the ruling.
A1 TEAM USA had its best qualifying performance at Taupo, sixth for the Sprint and 10th for the Feature.
"We're jelling as a team," Summerton said. "We've been progressively more competitive in each round. Our qualifying at Taupo was a sure sign that we found the set-up more quickly and that's what we needed to do. We just need to make the car a little better and we can challenge for a podium at Eastern Creek."
Weidinger believes A1 TEAM USA will have a strong second half to the A1GP season. Eastern Creek is the sixth of 10 rounds.
"We've scored points in each of the last three rounds and we had a very solid weekend at Taupo," Weidinger said. "We're bringing some momentum to Eastern Creek. Our goal all year has been to finish in the top five in qualifying and the races and we're closing fast on getting there.
"Jonathan made us proud last year at Eastern Creek and convinced us that he was ready to race for A1 TEAM USA. We are anxious to see what he does for an encore."
Summerton will have a one-hour practice Friday and a one-hour practice Saturday to prepare for qualifying and the races. Qualifying is Saturday and the 20-minute Sprint and 70-minute Feature races are Sunday.
A1 TEAM USA will not participate in the two 25-minute rookie sessions Friday. Charlie Kimball, of Camarillo, Calif., has been the team's rookie driver in the previous four events and scheduling conflicts will prevent him from driving the remainder of the season.
"It has been a pleasure to be a part of such a great team and organization," Kimball said. "I wish Jonathan and all at A1 TEAM USA the best for this weekend as well as the rest of the season. I am sure they are on an upward swing and will be in contention for top-fives and podiums very soon. Driving the 'We the People' car has been an incredible experience and will definitely help me in my future career."