Racing star Tatiana Calderon joined AJ Foyt Racing for her first test in the NTT IndyCar Series as part of a test day at Mid-Ohio last Tuesday. She drove the black ROKiT sponsored Dallara-Chevrolet usually driven by Sébastien Bourdais, taking her first steps into the famous open-wheel series.
The official test at Mid-Ohio, carried out thanks to ROKiT's partnership with AJ Foyt Racing, was the first experience in IndyCar for 28 year old Colombian driver Tatiana Calderon: this year, Tatiana's main focus is a double program at the top of endurance racing – The FIA WEC with Sophia Flörsch and Beitske Visser in the all-female team Richard Mille Racing – as well as her Japanese campaign in Super Formula with ThreeBond Drago Corse. Having previously driven the F1 car in a couple of occasions, Calderon is also currently Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Development Driver in F1.
At Mid-Ohio, Calderon drove the #14 Dallara Chevrolet after spending the whole weekend embedded with the team in order to prepare for the test and to get to know the team better. She received valuable advices from Juan Pablo Montoya – her racing hero – and Sébastian Bourdais, and was also coached by JR Hildebrand.
Hildebrand wrote on Instagram after Tatiana's test day: "Had the pleasure of helping Tatiana get a handle on Mid-Ohio today for her first taste of IndyCar – she did an awesome job and was a total pro! It’s always interesting to meet and watch drivers that are used to driving other cars as we all develop different ways to approach our craft and Tatiana was no different. I think she left with a smile after a solid day."
She completed 87 laps on the 2.238-mile course with a best time of 1:08.9888 on the black tires. Unlike her Dallara SF19 in Super Formula, the IndyCar Dallara has no power steering, which could make for a challenge – but Calderon has previously raced in the FIA Formula 2, which also doesn't feature a power steering system.
"I am very happy after my first experience in an IndyCar." – stated the Colombian.
"The team did a great job to prepare me and accelerate my learning; we went step by step, every time we went out on track we improved, and I think the lap time at the end was quite a lot better. I enjoyed the power of the car and the braking power, also the Aeroscreen has been another new experience for me, although I am familiar with cars with the closed cockpit. I want to thank ROKiT and AJ Foyt Racing for a fantastic day. Let's see what the future holds".
Tatiana Calderon was previously part of the Road to Indy program, as she raced in the IndyPro 2000 (former Pro Mazda Championship) in 2010 and 2011 for Juncos Racing, with two 3rd places in 2011 to her name. She then moved to Europe where she extended her experience in F3, before becoming the first woman to reach the FIA F2. Contracted by a F1 team and having entered in some of the most prestigious categories in the world, Calderon will now evaluate her options and potentially pursue a return to the US, in the highest American open wheel racing series.
For now, Tatiana will be back on track the next weekend, at the WEC Monza round, from 16th to 18th July.