Tatiana Calderon seems to have found some pace at Long Beach. She attributes the improvement to her training regimen and adjustments to the car. She hopes returning to natural road courses will give her confidence a boost.
“I trained quite hard physically for Long Beach, changed my routine even changed a few things in the car that I was not that comfortable with. Finding some setup stuff that I feel more confident now and I’m happy to be bac on a permanent track that I’m more used to and exploring the limit of the car. “
Calderon, a rookie with A. J. Foyt Racing, said her first Indycar race was a shock because it was the first time she had spent more than 20 laps in a row in the car.
She is most familiar with natural, permanent road course and is looking forward to this afternoon’s practice.
“First practice, the goal is to be as prepared as possible for qualifying. And I think step by step getting confidence. This is a completely different setup. type of track to the ones previously so it’s going to be very different. And I hope that I can just maybe be quicker, straight away so that I have this new work for tomorrow’s practicing.”
“Certainly, I think, you know, knowing in your mind that you will be go leaping into a corner you’re not facing the worst. You’re you’ve got your back on I think that that gives you an extra feel of confidence to explore the limit a little bit more I think I’m more comfortable with that. So hopefully that’s a good sign.”
For the rest of the season, Calderon is looking forward to several tracks.
“Obviously Indianapolis has that history that it has. I’ve never been around it in any type of car so that’s very interesting. And Road America seems like very big elevation changes. A certain flow that we like and Mid Ohio because that’s the only track I’ve been through in an IndyCar where I just did my test for the first time.”
Tatiana Calderon plans to ease into her rookie year, hoping her experience in other single seater series will ease her transition. The newest member of A. J. Foyt Racing is eager to get started. Calderon will drive the number 11 ROKiT car in 2022.She is happy to spend this year learning the series on road and street courses before try an oval.
Calderon believes her time in Super Formula and F2 will help her adjust to Indycar quickly in spite of limited preseason testing.
“I think they will be very useful, all those experiences, particularly because there’s not much time that we have in the car in preseason, so only a couple of days of testing, so I’m kind of used to that,” she said Monday.
“Because I’ve been changing continents and cars and tire manufacturers, I think that’s definitely going to help me to speed up the process, but I still want to take step by step this steep learning curve. Yeah, I don’t expect it to be any easier, but I definitely feel more ready than I was a couple of years back if I had the opportunity. Yeah, looking forward to making the most out of it and to learn as quick as possible.”
There is no timetable for running on ovals, but Calderon is interested in running them eventually and one day driving in the Indianapolis 500.
“Obviously I’ve only tested the car one day back in July, so we thought to take things easy to start off with, the road courses, build up to hopefully test in an oval, see how I feel, see how my confidence with the car comes. But of course who wouldn’t love to do Indy 500 one day. Yeah, we’re just taking it step by step.”
Calderon plans to use her time in Indycar to inspire more girls to enter the sport.
“I will obviously make the most out of this opportunity, and I’m really hoping that I can do well and inspire even more girls to join in in karting, in single seaters, and that they know this is also a great opportunity to showcase that.”
She thinks Indycar has a lot of opportunity for women
“I want to be where the best drivers are at, and I think INDYCAR is pretty high up there on the single seater ladder. I’ve always enjoyed single seaters quite a lot, as well. It’s an honor to be racing in INDYCAR after I started my career 10 years ago, and I was just watching those races. Yeah, huge privilege in that sense, and I think here in America, in INDYCAR, there has been many female drivers coming through, so I think there is more opportunity at the moment for us here.” In testing at Sebring yesterday, Calderon turned 57 laps with a best time of 53,250 seconds, about a half second behind teammate Kyle Kirkwood.
Does A. J. know how to celebrate a birthday or what?
A. J. Foyt Racing announced this morning Tatiana Calderon will drive car 11 in road and street events with ROKiT sponsorship. This has been brewing since Calderon tested for the team at Mid Ohio last July. According to the announcement, the car will be full time, and Foyt is looking for a driver for the ovals. Kyle Kirkwood will also be in a ROKiT car.
The press release from Foyt:
ROKiT Group Expands Its Program with AJ Foyt Racing; Tatiana Calderón Hired for 2022
INDIANAPOLIS (January 17, 2022) — ROKiT Group is expanding their marketing partnership with AJ Foyt Racing for 2022 as the team will enter two ROKiT-branded Chevrolets in the NTT INDYCAR Series with Tatiana Calderón hired to drive the No. 11 ROKiT Chevrolet.
The agreement expands AJ Foyt Racing to a three-car team with the previously announced Kyle Kirkwood in the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet and veteran Dalton Kellett in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet.
A.J. Foyt, who turned 87 yesterday, will be experiencing another first in his iconic career which spans eight decades. Calderón becomes the first female driver to compete for the legendary Texan. The 28-year-old Colombian native is set to drive the street and road courses. No driver has been signed for the oval tracks to date.
“I’m thrilled and very thankful to Jonathan Kendrick, ROKiT and AJ Foyt Racing for the opportunity to race in the NTT INDYCAR Series!” exclaimed Calderón. “Ever since I started my single seater career in the United States eleven years ago, INDYCAR has been a reference for me and it’s a dream come true to be on the grid this year! I can’t wait to get to St. Petersburg for the first race of the season! I’m well aware of the challenge ahead, but this is the chance of a lifetime and I’m keen on making the most of it.”
Entrepreneur Kendrick, the Co-founder and Chairman of the ROKiT Group of Companies, has supported Calderón’s career since 2020 when she competed in the World Endurance Championship and Super Formula Japan.
“One of our fundamental principles in the overall marketing of the ROKiT brand worldwide is our support and promotion of women in motorsport and, as part of that principle, we’ve supported Tatiana for a long time now,” Kendrick said.
Kendrick listens as Foyt answers a question at the Long Beach Grand Prix.
“We recognized her talent and charisma early on,” he continued, “which we’ve seen grow and develop, so we’re very excited to be expanding our partnership with Larry and the AJ Foyt Racing Team by having Tatiana drive the No. 11 ROKiT Chevrolet alongside Kyle Kirkwood in the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet this season. We know Tatiana is already a role model to many young female drivers around the world and we think the huge exposure of the NTT INDYCAR Series will serve only to increase her reach even further to become an inspiration to many more women to get involved in motorsports.”
Calderón spent the last two seasons competing in Super Formula in Japan for Threebond Drago Corse and for Richard Mille Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship. She has been a test driver for the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team for the past four years. Her extensive resume includes stints in Formula 2, Renault Series Formula V8 3.5 where she was the first female on the podium in Bahrein in 2017, GP3, European Formula 3, and the British Formula 3 Series, where she was the first female to score a podium.
Calderon testing at Mid-Ohio in July.
Born in Bogota, Colombia and currently living in Madrid, Calderón tested the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio last July which prompted talks of competing for the team in 2022.
Those talks resulted in Team President Larry Foyt signing an extension and expansion of the ROKiT sponsorship along with the hire of Calderón who impressed Foyt.
Foyt said, “I’m thrilled with the continuation and expansion of the ROKiT AJ Foyt Racing Team. We welcome Tatiana Calderón in car number 11 joining Kyle Kirkwood in car 14, both in the very cool ROKiT liveries. Tatiana showed a lot of potential in her test at Mid-Ohio. With Dalton Kellett in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators Chevrolet, I think our three-car team is in for an exciting season.”
Calderón will test with Kirkwood in Sebring, Fla. this week. Kellett is planning to attend in an advisory role.
Calderón and Kirkwood, the 2021 Indy Lights Series champion, will make their INDYCAR Series debut in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on February 27th which will be broadcast on NBC starting at 12 noon ET. Kirkwood and Kellett will compete in all of the races while Calderón will run in 12 of the 17 races on the schedule.
About ROKiT ROKiT Group is a next-generation global media company engaged in multiple aspects of content production and distribution, including movies, television, sports, music, drinks, and mobile entertainment. ROKiT leverages each of these business units, independently and together, to create content across all mediums, giving consumers what they want, when they want it on their mobile phones.