RLR/Andersen Racing signs Summerton

RLR/Andersen Racing Signs Summerton For Firestone Indy Lights PALMETTO, Fla., March 21 - RLR/Andersen Racing is pleased to announce that it has signed rising star Jonathan Summerton to drive its No. 9 car in the Firestone Indy Lights ...

RLR/Andersen Racing Signs Summerton For Firestone Indy Lights

PALMETTO, Fla., March 21 - RLR/Andersen Racing is pleased to announce that it has signed rising star Jonathan Summerton to drive its No. 9 car in the Firestone Indy Lights series.

Summerton, 20, of Kissimmee, Fla., is one of the drivers rumored to be in contention to join the United States' new Formula 1 team in 2010.

Summerton's first event with RLR/Andersen Racing will be the season-opening doubleheader on the street course at St. Petersburg, Fla. April 4-5. The team hopes to continue to field a car for Summerton in the remaining 13 races, pending the signing of some additional marketing partners it is pursuing.

Summerton won the pole and then finished third in the Atlantic Championship season opener yesterday at Sebring, Fla. driving for Genoa Racing. He finished third in the Atlantic series last year in his rookie season.

In 2007 Summerton competed in the A1GP for Team USA, winning at Shanghai, China. He honed his skills in the Formula 3 Euro series, the European Formula BMW series and the Formula BMW USA series. He became the youngest driver ever to win a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when he won a Formula BMW USA race at the Brickyard in 2004 at the age of 16. He began his career competing in karting events at the Ocala (Fla.) Gran Prix. Andersen Racing's karting team is competing there this weekend, while its Star Mazda squad was racing at Sebring on Friday too.

Andersen Racing offers one of the most comprehensive driver development programs available anywhere, with programs in karting, Formula BMW Americas, Star Mazda and Firestone Indy Lights. It is the development team of Rahal Letterman Racing.

"We are very pleased to enter into a driver development deal with one of America's brightest open-wheel stars, Jonathan Summerton," said RLR/Andersen Racing co-owner Dan Andersen. "His talent is recognized by many of us in the open-wheel community, and it is our great pleasure to have him as part of our 2009 Firestone Indy Lights lineup. We expect great things from him, beginning at St. Pete."

"We have had Jonathan on our radar for the last few years, as he has not only shown talent behind the wheel, but also the desire to continue improving and learning," said Bobby Rahal of Rahal Letterman Racing. "We believe Jonathan has the talent to continue progressing toward the top of the sport, and we are pleased to have him as part of RLR/Andersen Racing."

Summerton has already tested with RLR/Andersen Racing twice; once at Sebring and once on the road course at Homestead, Fla. He'll participate in a private test at Kentucky Speedway on Monday in preparation for his Firestone Indy Lights oval test at that track on Tuesday.

Summerton's teammate on the RLR/Andersen squad is Mario Romancini, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil currently living in Miami.

"I'm very excited!" Summerton said. "I've tested with the team twice now, and I know it's a very good, very professional team. I appreciate all the faith that Dan Andersen has given me.

"I'm really looking forward to St. Pete," he continued. "Street circuits are always fun. You have to push the limit when racing on a street circuit. If you push too far you're done, but I like the risk.

"I unofficially broke the road course track record at the Homestead test, but I've never driven on an oval before so I'm looking forward to testing at Kentucky," he added. "I was also impressed with Mario, my new teammate. He was friendly and he's a talented driver. At the oval test at Homestead he was in the top five even though he'd never driven on an oval before either, which gave me even more confidence in Mario as a driver and in the whole team in general. I really hope I'll be able to do the entire Firestone Indy Lights season with RLR/Andersen Racing."

-credit: rlr/ar

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Series INDYLIGHTS