Reigning Indy Pro 2000 champion Louis Foster will kick off his Indy NXT season in Florida this weekend with the target of winning the championship with his new Andretti Autosport team.
Foster, 19, was a revelation in his first season racing in the US off the back of successes in Europe and his native England, winning half the races in Indy Pro with the Exclusive Autosport team. His success made a jump to Andretti Autosport possible. Run by successful IndyCar racer Michael Andretti who also raced in F1 with McLaren, and is the son of racing legend Mario Andretti, the team’s illustrious heritage has been matched by its recent form in Indy NXT (formerly Indy Lights) where it regularly fights for the series title.
“Obviously it’s great to be with Andretti, we’ve been working really, really hard at preparing ourselves for the start of the season and I’m hopeful of a strong start,” says Foster, who is backed by Copart, a global leader in online auto auctions. “We’ve put a lot of effort into the preparation and I’m looking forward to it. “Settling with the team has been great. It’s fantastic to race as part of this family team and to wear and represent the badge as I race. “I’m really enjoying it and hopefully that reflects in the results. “The team has been successful in this series before and is one of the biggest names in North American motorsport and arguably the whole of the racing world, so to be starting this Indy NXT by Firestone journey with them is very exciting.”
Andretti finished second in the championship in 2022 but won the previous three championships with drivers who all went on to race in IndyCar. The Indy NXT series offers a prize worth $1.4 million that involves two tests, an entry to the Indianapolis 500 and one further race in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, so the obvious goal for an ambitious driver like Foster and a team as successful as Andretti is to target the ultimate glory.
“The expectations this year are to win the championship,” Foster says. “I think that’s pretty obvious, we have the momentum from winning last year’s Indy Pro 2000 championship and we have to make that count and do our best to take the next step. “We’re fully focused on taking this season race by race and maximising each weekend to the best of our abilities, and if we do that we’ll have a great chance to score good results.”
It’s incredible how far Foster has come in a year. In February, 2022, Foster was making his Indy Pro 2000 championship debut at St Petersburg - on exactly the same track Indy NXT uses this weekend - and also racing on a proper street course for the first time. He went on to win on a street course and an oval later in the year which were both new challenges for Foster in 2022, but he remembers his debut at St Pete especially fondly.
“St Pete last year was my first time racing in America and my first time on a proper street circuit,” he says.
"It’s a fun track, and I do really enjoy it, so I’m looking forward to getting back out on track and giving the Indy NXT by Firestone car a go.”
As well as preparing with Andretti and working on his own conditioning and fitness in the US, Foster also headed to New Zealand in January to take part in the Formula Regional Oceania championship in which he won his first race - in wet conditions - merely hours after arriving off the plane. He was also made a BRDC SuperStar for 2023, the British Racing Drivers’ Club’s programme for developing what it sees as the country’s best young drivers. It has included drivers who have gone on to compete in many championships including in Formula 1, and is a huge honour within the racing community.
Foster will make his Indy NXT debut on Friday, March 3 in the first practice session at St Petersburg, and will race on Sunday, March 5.
St Petersburg schedule - Eastern time (BST -5)
Friday, March 3
Practice 1 1355-1440 (1855-1940)
Saturday, March 4
Practice 2 0900-0945 (1400-1445) Qualifying 1335-1355 (1835-1855)
Sunday, March 5
Race 0955-1105 (1455-1605)