Louis Foster had a strong weekend for his Indy Pro 2000 title hopes as he leaves Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama just five points adrift of the leader and with the fastest lap in both races.
Exclusive Autosport driver Foster started the first race fifth after traffic and a red flag robbed him of the late improvement some of his rivals were able to make that pushed him down the order. Totally new to the Cooper Tires used in the series, Foster is still learning how to extract the maximum from them, especially as this was his first road course race in America after the St Petersburg season opener on a street circuit. Barber is notoriously hard to overtake at and a mid-race loss of position to sixth looked to condemn Foster, but the never-give-up driver reclaimed the position and then went on to steal fourth in the closing stages, too. Another tricky qualifying session meant Foster started race two on Sunday from sixth, but again he refused to accept Barber’s reputation for tough overtaking and made up three spots on the first lap alone. Unfortunately, the battle for second allowed the leader to escape but Foster held on for the podium and fastest lap, his third podium in four races, and he’s yet to finish outside the top four in his first season racing in America.
“As in any single seater series qualifying is vital, but based on where we started the races I have to be happy with how we finished them and coming away well in the championship hunt,” said Foster, who is backed by Copart, a global leader in online auto auctions, and Florida-based luxury Italian garden umbrella brand Poggesi. “I wish qualifying had been slightly better, especially when you look at our pace on used tyres in the race. “I think if I’d understood the tyre quicker, I’d be leading the championship, but at least we know what the issue is and we should be able to fix it before the next race. “We’re on the right track, the team and my engineer and I are learning more about each other every weekend and understanding each other better. The set-ups and the baseline are improving every time we get in the car.”
Foster’s pace despite the adversity he has faced will be a worry for his rivals as he gears up to race again later this month as part of the support act for one of the biggest races in motorsport, the Indy 500. Foster and the Indy Pro 2000 series will race on the Brickyard venue’s street circuit on May 12-14, which Foster was quickest at during his first official test in the car last year.
“We tested there back in October and I’ve been to Indianapolis and seen the oval a few times,” he said. “There’s a lot of history there and it will be very cool to race there, with all the grandstands. “It’s the closest we get to the Indy 500 at this stage, so I’m looking forward to it, should be a good weekend.”