Foster’s ‘rollercoaster’ Le Mans Cup season to conclude in Portimao

Cornish charger Tommy Foster says he will ‘give everything’ to finish on a high at this week’s Michelin Le Mans Cup series finale at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, writes Tom Howe.

For one final time, the Newquay native is gearing up to partner teammate Terrence Woodward in the 455 horsepower #26 360 Racing prepared Ligier JS P320, one of 28 LMP3 entries travelling to Portimao. 

Sunday’s 110-minute endurance marks the end of a dramatic 2023 season for the FIA classified Professional Gold Driver who, but for a bit of bad luck with penalties, would have touched down in Portugal fighting for the championship crown.

The 21-year-old has been lightning quick all season, a fact underlined by statistics from last time out at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, which showed him only beaten for pace by race winner Wayne Boyd in the driver performance charts.

“This season has been a rollercoaster ride,” revealed Foster, in an exclusive discussion with Cornwall Sports Media, before adding: “We certainly have had our ups and downs.

“Overall, our positions don’t show our true pace but I’m taking away the positives and I am very happy with how I’ve performed this year. I still believe the penalty we got in Spa was inconsistent with others but that’s in the past now.

“Everyone wants to finish on a high going into the winter break so myself, Terrance and the team will give it everything we have one last time. Portimao is my favourite track, with all its elevation changes and blind corners. 

“I have a lot of friends and family coming out to watch this race as it’s the season finale, so I need a good result to jumpstart the end of year party.” 

Round seven of the campaign will feature a three-way battle for the LMP3 crown, with the #26 Team Virage Ligier of Gillian Henrion and Julien Gerbi going into the race as favourites thanks to a 21 point gap to their nearest rivals.

A top eight finish could be all that is required but anything less would allow the #2 CD Sport Ligier of Kirill Smal and Fabien Michal, as well as the #77 Team Thor Ligier of Audunn Gudmundsson and Colin Noble to stake a claim. 

Both have 51 points going into the concluding event, with a maximum of 26 to be won in Portugal. Foster and Woodward enter the race in eighth spot – on 27 points – so could mathematically, if not realistically, finish as high as second in the standings.

It is worth remembering that the Le Mans Cup, designed as a training ground for endurance racing and as a feeder to the European Le Mans Series, largely partners professional drivers, holding either an FIA Gold or Silver licence, alongside semi-professional or amateur Bronze racers.

Taking place over four days, events begin with free practice one on Thursday (October 19) before the Bronze driver collective test on Friday (October 20). Free practice two and qualifying follows on Saturday (October 21) before the race itself on Sunday (October 22). 

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