top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureRACERS

Tatiana Calderon joins Sheena Monk, Katherine Legge in Gradient Racing IMSA squad

More female-power in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: Katherine Legge and Sheena Monk will return for a full-time program behind the wheel of the JG Wentworth Acura NSX GT3 - and will be joined by Tatiana Calderon in the five Michelin Endurance Cup rounds for an outstanding Gradient Racing squad.


Vanesa Silkunaite
Photo credits: Jake Galstad

An all-female duo made headlines in IMSA in 2023: sportscar veteran Katherine Legge, one of the very few gold-rated female drivers in the world, teamed up with her long-time mentee and friend Sheena Monk, who stepped up from GT4 machinery to the GTD in the North America's premier sports car championship. At the wheel of the #66 JG Wentworth Acura NSX GT3 Evo22, Legge and Monk - joined for the endurance rounds by Marc Miller - proved to be a force to be reckoned with, and impressed with solid results and great recoveries.


The Gradient Racing duo - who contested the full IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship campaign - barely missed out on a podium finish at the 24 hours of Daytona following an outstanding race for all drivers - including an unbelievable debut by bronze-rated Monk - to finish fourth. A further top ten in Long Beach was then followed by a fifth place at the Six Hours of the Glen, and more stellar performances at Lime Rock, VIRginia International Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, completing a first season with six top-ten finished and, crucially for the championship standings, taking the chequered flag in all but one race.


Legge and Monk were often just short of a podium finish, which would have been a deserved achievement after a truly remarkable campaign, sometimes marred by some bad luck, ended with eleventh in the GTD standings.


The Gradient Racing JG Wentworth iconic livery will return in 2024, as Katherine Legge and Sheena Monk will be back for more IMSA success - this time partnering with another world-class female racer: Tatiana Calderon. The Colombian star will in fact make her IMSA return in the five Michelin Endurance Cup rounds, including the legendary Rolex Daytona 24H where she will be making her return for the first time since 2020.


Tatiana Calderon, Sheena Monk, Katherine Legge, Stevan McAleer
Photo credits: JG Wentworth

Legge, one of the most experienced drivers of the Acura platform, will once again mentor Sheena Monk in her sophomore season in GT3, as the American will aim to build on her 2023 development, having shown great consistency in race pace but also good qualifying speed - a highly valuable skill for a bronze driver.


“I'm heading into 2024 with a new respect and understanding for what it means to compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and ultimately, what it takes to be successful,” said Sheena. “We are bringing a powerful driver lineup with vast experience across many disciplines of racing, which I believe will prove invaluable to our outlook across the season. I’m eager to build on the strides I’ve made alongside Katherine, as well as working with the skill and energy that Tatiana brings, and finally sharing the car with Stevan’s indomitable competitive spirit."


Stevan McAleer is in fact set to join the trio as the fourth driver for the 24 Hours of Daytona line up.


“I am eternally grateful for the ongoing support from the people at JG Wentworth, who continue to lead by example with their core values,” she added. “They have not only been a vital component to the evolution of this program, but JG Wentworth has also been an integral part of my development as a competitor since 2019.”


From formula cars - including but not limited to a F1 test in 2005 - and sports cars, where she has competed in elite series such as DTM, American Le Mans Series, IMSA, GT World Challenge, FIA WEC as well as NASCAR, Katherine Legge is one of the greats of the sport and became the fastest woman ever in Indy 500 qualifying at 231 mph. A driver that needs no introductions and, with 10 IMSA seasons under her belt and 11 starts at the Rolex 24H, will put her experience on the table, eager to top her runner up spot in the 2018 GTD championship.


“I’m thrilled to build on the progress and potential that the entire Gradient Racing team showed in the 2023 season, and attack 2024 alongside Sheena in our JG Wentworth Acura NSX GT3 Evo22,” Katherine commented. “There were many positive takeaways in our debut year, and Sheena stepped up to the big leagues with strength and grace."


"We all know what we can do better and as a team we are coming into the new season with renewed vigor and passion to get the job done. I’m super excited to have Tatiana on board with us for the Michelin Endurance Cup rounds. She is an exceptionally skilled driver with a very impressive racing pedigree, and I have full confidence that she will be an excellent addition to our squad."


Calderon already shared the wheel with Legge in her sole IMSA participation, the 2020 season opener at Daytona. They were then supposed to enter the 2020 European Le Mans Series as part of the RIchard Mille Racing Team in a LMP2 crew, but an injury in pre-season testing unfortunately ruled Legge out for the season.


Tatiana Calderon
Credits: Juan Manuel Vargas @juavargas

Tatiana, who has an equally impressive racing resumé, will now have the opportunity to make up for it and will bring her speed and adaptability to Gradient Racing after competing at the top of single seaters - having climbed the F1 ladder from F3 to F2, before racing in SuperFormula and Indycar - as well as in endurance racing, notably in ELMS and WEC in prototypes, including two Le Mans 24 Hours.


“I’m super thankful to the whole Gradient Racing team for this opportunity", said Tatiana. "I’m very excited to team up with Sheena, Katherine and Stevan for the Rolex 24 at Daytona! I have competed at Daytona once and I loved the atmosphere and competitive spirit of this incredible race."


With over 350 race starts to her name, it will be Tatiana's second ever start in GT3 machinery, having proven great adaptability across her racing career.

"The team did a great job last year and I hope we can build on it to hopefully be on the podium", she added. "I’m really looking forward to sharing the car with them and getting familiarized with everyone as soon as possible. I can’t wait to get started!”


Calderon will now prepare for the mandatory ‘Roar Before the 24’ pre-event test on January 19-21, before the main event on January 25-28.

She will then make her debut at Sebring for the 12 Hours in March, before tackling the Six Hours of Watkins Glen, the ‘Battle on the Bricks’ at Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course - where she was protagonist of one of her strongest races in Indycar - and will then round out the IMSA season at the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.



0 comments

Comments


bottom of page