Exclusive Autosport leaves the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg sitting second in championship
PETERSBURG, FL (February 26, 2022) – Exclusive Autosport returned to the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course of St. Petersburg, Florida for the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires season opener this past weekend. The team debuted three new Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires drivers to their line-up, including American Christian Brooks, and a pair of Englishmen in Louis Foster and Matthew Round-Garrido. The drivers came into this event feeling confident, having worked hard together and with their engineers during their extensive off-season testing. EA has been known for having great cars at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and they have numerous podiums on their resume, including three wins last year in USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000, creating a powerful atmosphere among the drivers and the crew members.
“I am very happy with our podium finishes in Indy Pro 2000 this past weekend,” said Michael Duncalfe, Team Principal. “Louis Foster, in the #90 Copart.com Exclusive Autosport car, had a strong debut weekend in the Indy Pro 2000 Championship with his 2nd and 3rd placed finishes and is second in the overall championship (only 2 points back). He is in a good position, early in the championship as we head into Barber. Matthew Round Garrido in the #92 Corpay Indy Pro 2000 had an up and down weekend. We worked through some issues that inhibited performance in race 1 and he came back strong in race 2. Christian Brooks, unfortunately, had a terminal incident in qualifying. Christian, although a rookie to the Indy Pro 2000 Championship, has had success on the Streets of St. Petersburg and had a really strong practice session. His incident reiterated how unforgiving this street circuit can be. We have a long break before we are racing again, and we are collectively working hard to get Christian back in the car for Barber.”
The weekend event got underway on Thursday afternoon with the lone practice session of the weekend. Friday morning kicked off bright and early for the only qualifying session to set the grid for Race 1. The drivers were all pushing hard but, unfortunately, Christian Brooks made a slight mistake late in the session, sending his car into the wall on the outside of Turn 3. The damage was so significant that it was unrepairable, forcing Brooks to the sidelines for the weekend. Foster finished the session in fifth, while Round-Garrido timed in ninth after battling some issues with his car.
The opening round of the doubleheader took place later that afternoon. Foster got a monster of a start, quickly advancing him into the 2nd position. Louis slipped back to the third position by the end of the opening lap but continued to push, eventually claiming the first podium of his Road to Indy career. Matthew continued to fight and ended up finishing in tenth.
Race 2 was run early on Saturday morning, and Foster was quickly into the battle, starting from fifth. He was aggressive at the start but could advance, although he was into fourth on lap 2 and began to hunt down the driver in third. After an early full-course caution, Louis went into attack mode and grabbed third with a strong move around the outside in Turn 4. On lap nine, he made the move to second and set his sights on the leader. After a lengthy late-race caution, it was a four-lap dash to the end. Foster made his bid for the win with three laps to go, but he couldn’t complete the overtake. Settling in for the final laps, Foster scored his second podium of the weekend with a runner-up finish, giving him the points to sit second in the championship leaving the weekend. Round-Garrido had a huge task ahead of him, as his issues in Race 1 positioned him deeper on the grid for the start. The crew was able to sort out his issues, but it was a bit too late. MRG fought hard all race and gained several positions to score his second top-10.
The team will now head back to the shop and prep the cars for the series test at Barber Motorsports Park on March 21-22, before returning for Rounds 3 and 4 at the end of April.
Exclusive Autosport is pleased to be able to partner with a great company – Corpay Cross-Border Solutions (https://cross-border.corpay.com/exclusive-autosport/) – who specialize in helping companies of all sizes power their international payments, execute plans to manage their currency risk and support their growth around the world.
EXCLUSIVE AUTOSPORT – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTES
INDY PRO 2000 – ROUND 1/2 – FEBRUARY 24-26, 2022
INDY PRO 2000 GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG PRESENTED BY ANDERSEN INTERIOR CONTRACTING
LOUIS FOSTER – #90
Qualifying 1: 4th – 1:09.874
Race 1: Start – 4th / Finish – 3rd
Race 2: Start – 5th / Finish – 2nd
Driver Quote: “I’ve wanted to come to the States for a long time; I knew it was where I wanted to be. We did a lot of good prep ahead of the weekend since this is my first time on a street circuit, with the team and with SimMetric, so we could hit the ground running. I really enjoyed the track. It’s so much fun – but the walls are really close to you! We had a bit of an issue in qualifying which put us back a bit, so the goal was to try and get podiums for both races. The only thing that could have been better would be if we’d been P1, but I’m happy with P3 in Race 1 and P2 in Race 2. It’s been quite a lot this weekend with a new team, new car, new series, new track, but our pace was so good all weekend. Exclusive gave me a great car and I was able to really push. Going in, I knew a podium would be possible so that was really the goal. We now head to Barber second place in points, which is an awesome way to start my first season in the states.”
CHRISTIAN BROOKS – #91
Qualifying 1: 11th – 1:10.374 (Contact)
Race 1: Start – DNS
Race 2: Start – DNS
Driver Quote: “It was a very tough way to begin my Indy Pro 2000 campaign this weekend. The pace was great out of the box, and we were looking solid for qualifying. Unfortunately, I made a mistake in turn 3 on the inside apex putting me into the wall at a very high speed, destroying the car, and putting an end to our weekend. Racing is a roller coaster of highs and lows and I’m ready to put this behind me and focus on the next event.”
MATTHEW ROUND-GARRIDO – #92
Qualifying 1: 9th – 1:10.225
Race 1: Start – 9th / Finish – 10th
Race 2: Start – 12th / Finish – 9th
Driver Quote: “It was a slightly disappointing weekend here at the St. Petersburg Grand Prix. The team did a great job trying to figure out our issues from earlier in the weekend and for the second race we had it figured out, but by then it was a little too little too late as we had to come from the back. Hopefully, we’ll be able to hit the ground running at Barber and be fighting for some wins and podiums there. Thank you to everyone working so hard on the #92 car.”
EXCLUSIVE AUTOSPORT – SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS:
Photo Credit: Gavin Baker / Road to Indy
About Exclusive Autosport:
Exclusive Autosport (EA) is a professional racing team dedicated to the success of its drivers in open-wheel formula car competition in North America. EA operates teams in both the Ontario and Quebec Formula 1600 series in Canada (F1600 Canada/Toyo Tires F1600 Championship), as well as the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, and Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, all part of the Road to Indy. In 2022, Exclusive Autosport has added Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires to their stable, the top step of the Road to Indy. Exclusive Autosport’s drivers have secured numerous championships, race wins, podium finishes, and pole positions, as well as Rookie of the Year awards. Exclusive Management Inc., the team’s parent company, has enjoyed great success in both open-wheel and sports car racing and has worked with standout drivers. Their mission is to develop drivers and prepare them for the upper echelons of professional motorsports.