Jonathan Summerton has signed to contest the rest of the Atlantic Championship with Newman Wachs team, despite having enjoyed a successful start to the season with Genoa.
Admitting that it had been a difficult decision to move teams - especially as Thomas Knapp and Geoff Busher had given him a great car for the opening four rounds - Summerton explained that the knowledge that he could now complete the balance of the season had been his main motivation for the switch. He replaces reigning series champion Markus Niemela in the NWR line-up.
Despite being hailed as one of the American talents of the future - and touted as a possible contender for the nascent US F1 team - he has already had to sit out several rounds of the Firestone Indy Lights series, in which he was plying a parallel campaign, and now appears set on targeting the Atlantic title before addressing next season.
"I am really pleased to be back with all of the NWR team," Summerton said, "They are great people and I hope we can keep the momentum I have had so far this year with Genoa. I would like to thank all the guys at Genoa for a great job and hard work, and appreciate everything Thomas Knapp and Genoa did for me."
Summerton last drove for NWR in 2008, finishing third in the Atlantic Championship after claiming two wins for the team - at Edmonton and Road America - in addition to a pole position at the season finale at Road Atlanta. He has spent the first part of 2009 competing in both the Atlantic and Indy Lights series on a race-by-race basis but his record with NWR convinced team owner Eddie Wachs to reunite the two parties.
"I am glad to have Jonathan back with us, especially as I think that he and John [Edwards] will both push one another and, in turn, make each a better driver," the veteran revealed.
Summerton currently sits second in the Atlantic Championship standings, behind former NWR team-mate Simona de Silvestro and just ahead of new partner Edwards.
"To be back with the guys at Newman Wachs is fantastic," Summerton underlined, "Last year, we all hit it off great and worked well as a team. Eddie and his wife are wonderful people and I appreciate the support and confidence they have in my driving skills. We would have won the championship last year if it wasn't for some other people's mistakes and, although I haven't tested the car this year, I hope to be on the pace at our next race. I appreciate the opportunity Eddie has given me and I am
looking forward to winning the championship that the team deserves."
Niemela's plans are not yet known, the Finn understood to have had to stand down from his ride with NWR due to a lack of sponsorship.