Zhuhai: Team USA preview

A1 TEAM USA's Summerton focused on scoring points at Zhuhai Kimball continues in rookie role Jonathan Summerton has scored points in five of the 10 races he's driven for A1 TEAM USA. The 19-year-old from Kissimmee, Fla., has his sights set on ...

A1 TEAM USA's Summerton focused on scoring points at Zhuhai Kimball continues in rookie role

Jonathan Summerton has scored points in five of the 10 races he's driven for A1 TEAM USA. The 19-year-old from Kissimmee, Fla., has his sights set on enhancing that record this weekend (Dec. 14-16) in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at Zhuhai International Circuit in the Republic of China.

"We want to score points in both the Sprint and the Feature races," Summerton said. "It's an achievable goal for our team. We've been in the points in 50 percent of our races together and we want to increase it considerably in the remaining seven events this season. We're going for two podiums at Zhuhai and, at the very least, we want to improve our finishes from Malaysia."

Summerton was 10th in the Feature, scoring A1 TEAM USA's first point of the 2007-08 season, and 12th in the Sprint at Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit. In A1GP, the top-10 finishers are awarded points in both races.

Sepang was Summerton's first event this season with A1 TEAM USA. It was also his first encounter with A1GP's new qualifying procedures. They have been revised since last season, allowing one timed lap in four 15-minute sessions. Two are for the Sprint, two for the Feature and the fast lap in each sets the grid.

"I think having a race weekend under our belt will help us a lot, mainly in qualifying," Summerton said. "That was the first time I had done that sort of qualifying for the Sprint and Feature. We also made some major suspension geometry changes during the weekend at Sepang and those changes are good and will help the car in Zhuhai."

Summerton qualified 11th for the Sprint and 13th for the Feature at Sepang.

Summerton has never driven at Zhuhai's 2.7-mile, 14-turn course, but he'll be learning the circuit in the series-mandated Lola-Zytek for the first time just like all the other A1GP drivers this weekend. This is A1GP's first event at Zhuhai.

Charlie Kimball, of Camarillo, Calif., will open the event for A1 TEAM USA in the two 25-minute all-rookie practices Friday. It's the third A1GP event for Kimball and second working with Summerton.

"I am really looking forward to learning yet another new circuit," Kimball said. "Jonathan and I have similar ideas on how to set up the car and I can help establish a baseline on the 'We the People' car to give the team and Jonathan a good start to the weekend."

Kimball has raced twice in the Macau Grand Prix, an international Formula 3 race that isn't far from Zhuhai.

"I really enjoy racing in the Far East," Kimball said. "The enthusiasm by the fans is un-rivaled. Having competed twice at Macau, I have a basic understanding of Chinese culture, but this will be my first trip to the mainland and I'm looking forward to it."

A1 TEAM USA owner Rick Weidinger believes the team is ready to start moving up in the 22-nation competition for the A1GP World Cup trophy at Zhuhai, the fourth round of the A1GP season.

"Our performance was better at Sepang and we should be able to capitalize on that experience in Zhuhai," Weidinger said. "Charlie is learning about the car and the series every time he drives for us and is capable of getting us off to a fast start on a track where A1GP has never raced. We want to finish in the top-five in the championship and we have plenty of races to get there, but we need to score points regularly. I think we have a super combination of racing talent with Jonathan and Charlie--natural talent combined with smarts and ambition."

After Kimball's two rookie sessions, 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.

-credit: a1teamusatv.com

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Charlie Kimball , Jonathan Summerton , Rick Weidinger