Despite not having raced on a street circuit before, Louis Foster claimed a pair of podiums to start the Indy Pro 2000 championship off in fine fashion at St Petersburg in Florida.
Exclusive Autosport driver Foster qualified fourth for the first race, but he and the team felt that pole was comfortably possible had an inopportune red flag not halted proceedings. Qualifying is vital on tight street circuits, but Foster immediately showed the watching US fans what he is all about with a bold and breathtaking move around the outside of Turn 1, allowing him to move up to third on the first lap. As part of a train of cars Foster looked to pressure for second but also had to defend his podium, and did well to bring home a third place finish on his debut. In the second race of the weekend, Foster started even further back, in fifth position, but was a threat for the win after moving his way through the field.
He took fourth on lap two, then made third his own by going around the outside of Turn 4 in a clever and opportunistic move that gave him the inside line for the next corner. He took second a lap later with another Turn 1 dive, and exerted race long pressure on the leader, including making another late trademark dive down at Turn 1. This time he couldn’t make it stick as the leader took advantage of track position.
He did set the fastest lap, to show his genuine pace in front of the watching IndyCar paddock. “I’m definitely happy with the pace given it was my first ever race on a street course and getting used to the new paddock,” said Foster, who is backed by Copart, a global leader in online auto auctions. “We did a lot of preparation prior to the event which I think really helped us. “A lot of time in the winter with the team, doing testing, a lot of time working hard on my training regime with my trainer, Jake. “We had a call with Jordan King as well, so his IndyCar experience was really helpful especially given he had a track record from qualifying at one point on this track. “I even did some sim stuff at the track, and we also looked at lots of video and onboards, making extensive notes.” The results of the weekend - a second and a third - have given Foster hope that his pre-season goal of fighting for the title is a reality. Especially after things could have been better without the bad luck of the qualifying red flag. “This weekend gives me a lot of confidence,” added Foster. “Going into the first race weekend against a lot of second year drivers, and being able to be one of the fastest drivers, realistically we should have been on pole, just had a really unlucky red flag. So it’s given me a lot of confidence. “I think I know where we stand. I knew we’d be fighting for the championship, I have every year we’ve been racing, so nothing’s changed and the approach is always the same.” Part of the pay off in the results this weekend are owed to the developing relationship with the Exclusive Autosport team which he joined last year, but is now really starting to feel at home at. That’s especially due to the burgeoning familiarity between Foster and new engineer John Hayes. “The team is great to work with, they’re all really hard working, Exclusive is an amazing team,” Foster said. “They’re all behind you. It’s the best team on the grid and I’m so lucky to have them behind me. “Can’t thank my engineer John enough, he does a phenomenal job with the car, and I think we’ve just reached a point where we understand each other well and when I say something, he understands exactly what I mean. “It sometimes gets lost in translation because you’re trying to express what you’re feeling in the car and the engineer has to understand and make the changes that suit, but he knows exactly what I mean.” Foster will race next at the Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama on April 28-May 1.