Louis Foster is aiming to take his first win on US soil visiting a Barber Motorsports Park track in Alabama that feels much closer to home.
After a recent test at the venue, Indy Pro 2000 driver Foster compared the track to one he’s raced on many times before, Donington Park in Leicestershire. Foster, who races for the Exclusive Autosport team, has had to wait since February 27 for his next race, taking place this weekend at Barber, and he’s looking forward to racing on a track with more flow.
“It should be a good race weekend, I think qualifying is going to be super important,” said Foster, who is backed by Copart, a global leader in online auto auctions. “From what I’ve heard there’s not much overtaking at Barber. Qualifying will be super important and we’ll see what we can do. “The target is the same as always; win one of the races if not two and put it on pole, all that sort of stuff! “That’s the aim and always is the aim, to be the fastest driver there. If we can get two podiums I’ll be happy.”
Foster made his street racing debut in February at St Petersburg - also his first race in the US to start the season - where he made an impression with his quality overtaking and came away from the round second in the championship. In the gap since, he’s been working on his programme with Exclusive Autosport to take the next step. The Barber test wasn’t necessarily a huge advantage for Foster as all the drivers in the series took to the track in the March event, but it did allow some lessons to be learned. Mainly with the tricky art of perfecting car set-up, especially in relation to getting the tyres into the best operating window.
“We’ve worked on set-up a lot at the Barber test,” added Foster. "We kind of went round in a big circle, started on the baseline set-up and then ended up coming back to it. “That might not sound productive but we learned so much doing that, especially to do with switching the tyres on and it means we’ll be better at knowing what to do in certain conditions on the track to help the car to switch on the tyres faster.”
Foster took another big step in his journey racing in the US for the first time this year by driving on an oval for the first time, at the Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. Racing on banked ovals is something totally new to Foster but he worked hard to get up to speed in preparation for racing later in the season.
“The oval test was really enjoyable,” he said. “It was definitely tricky and confidence is a big thing around ovals, to trust the car and to deal with some oversteer in the car. “It didn’t feel really unusual, it’s still the same car. Just being able to trust what the car is going to do and pushing up close to the walls is the hard part.”
Back to the matter at hand, this weekend's Barber action represents the third and fourth races of the 18-round season.
You can watch Foster in action this weekend via the Road to Indy YouTube channel and on the Indy Pro 2000 website. (https://www.youtube.com/user/RoadtoIndyTV, https://www.indypro2000.com/) Barber schedule - Eastern Time (BST -6 hours)
Practice - 0845-0915 (1445-1515) Qualifying 1 - 1115-1145 (1715-1745) Saturday
Race 1 - 1330-1420 (1930-2020)
Qualifying 2 -1805-18.30 (0005-0030 Sunday)
Race 2 - 1430-1520 (2030-2120)