Bobby Rahal has apparently had an eye on Jonathan Summerton for the past few years. Now Summerton has an eye on Rahal and a seat at the legend's Indy Lights team for 2009.
That ambition came a closer to reality last week, after Rahal suggested Andersen Racing give Summerton a test in one of its Indy Lights car at Sebring and the Atlantic Series graduate impressed on his first acquaintance with the Dallara.
Although only running for a single day, Summerton was quickly on the pace, and giving the engineers some great feed back. This allowed them to try several different set-up configurations which could be useful for the upcoming season.
"It was a great test," Summerton noted, "The Indy Lights car is a fun car and, once you get the feel of the car, it becomes very rewarding. The car has more speed on the straights than the Atlantic car I drove this season, but has less downforce and handles differently in the corners."
Andersen Racing runs the 'junior' team element of Rahal Letterman Racing's IndyCar operation, and is clearly the route that sometime A1GP frontrunner Summerton wants to follow.
"To be testing with Andersen Racing is definitely a privilege," he admitted, "The team did an excellent and professional job, ran two cars all day without any mechanical issues, and the cars were well prepared. I would like to thank Bobby Rahal, Dan and John Andersen for allowing me to test and the team for doing such a great job. I hope we can work something out so I can race in the Indy Lights series and show how we can win."
Summerton is not the only Indy Lights aspirant to run with Andersen this close season, with erstwhile Atlantic rival Jonathan Bomarito and Star Mazda stand-out Joel Miller kick-starting the team's winter activities a week before Summerton's run, but the Floridian clearly impressed.
"Bobby had kept saying about Jonathan [Summerton]," Dan Andersen revealed, "Now I have finally had an opportunity to see him drive, he is definitely the 'real deal', a terrific package of natural talent, intelligence, experience and a great personality to represent sponsors.
"Not only was he fast at our recent test, but our engineers found him a delight to work with as his feedback was excellent. We hope to be able to have Jonathan driving for RLR Andersen in 2009."