Cornish charger Tommy Foster returns to Motorland Aragon this week some three years on from a chance test that changed the shape of his racing career, writes Tom Howe.
The worldwide outbreak of covid-19 and the ensuing impact on motorsport, not to mention life in general, left the Newquay native short of options despite success in the Formula 4 category both in Britain and across the Atlantic.
It was at this point that an invite to test LMP3 sports cars arrived, with the then 18-year-old travelling to the Spanish track and catching the eye of RLR MSport, who provided his Michelin Le Mans Cup debut the following year.
Now in his third season, Foster finds himself back where it all began and in the midst of a thrilling series that has seen he and teammate Terrence Woodward pilot the #26 360 Racing car to fourth in the standings.
“We’re all feeling good, we know we have a quick car and can do well in races,” Foster, 21, told Cornwall Sports Media. “This is the first place I ever drove an LMP3 car so I am [having the benefit of] knowing the track.
“I’m confident that it will suit the set up that we are bringing and the driving style of both Terrence and myself.
“The last race was great, everything went well for us and we had great pace. [Since then], we have spent some time focusing on Terrence’s qualifying runs.
“We’re currently sitting fourth in the championship and in with a very good shout for the rest of the season. If we can get that better and start higher up the field then we’ll have better chances come race day.”
A string of testing sessions preceded today’s qualifying (9.50 am BST) and race (4.40 pm BST) events, with all the action available to watch live and free via https://youtube.com/@LeMansCup?si=4Kkyf3ezlH4BbeOg
- For more on Foster’s famous first trip to Motorland Aragon and the path of his racing career since then, check out this article by Cornwall Sports Media’s Tom Howe: https://cornwallsportsmedia.co.uk/2023/04/21/creative-in-a-crisis-cornish-racer-on-the-year-that-changed-his-career/
- Foster and Woodward shared the rostrum in the series’ last race in Paul Ricard, with the #26 360 Racing entry then sat behind only runaway leaders Team Virage in the 2023 Michelin Le Mans Cup standings.
- However, post-race scrutineering found Foster had ‘increased his speed in excess of the permitted 80 kph’ two seconds before a full course yellow had been withdrawn.
- This resulted in a ten second penalty that dropped the British-based entry to sixth spot.
- The official decision arrived late in the evening and demoted Foster and Woodward to fourth in the standings, thus promoting the #77 of Team Thor and #87 of Cool Racing.
- “We are all really fired up for Aragon,” Foster told us from Paul Ricard. “Every single member of the team was elated when we got up on that podium and that has fuelled our passion to get up there more.”
- Twenty-nine LMP3 cars will take the grid in conditions expected to reach 40 degrees Celsius in north-eastern Spain this week, on a technical anticlockwise track of 5.3 kilometres (3.2 miles).
- That list includes the 360 Racing prepared Ligier JS P320 of Foster and Woodward, whose partnership is going from strength to strength, no doubt helped by a team bonding round of golf in the former’s hometown (Newquay) just last week.
- After leaving Aragon, the series concludes with races at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (September 24) and the Algarve International Circuit (October 22).