Tatiana Calderon got her winter testing program off to a great start on Monday (28 October) after impressing during her maiden outing in an Auto GP car, in the first of a series of tests scheduled for the next two months across various categories.
The Colombian lady racer piloted a Virtuosi Racing-prepared Auto GP single-seater during a half-day test at Circuito de Jerez in Spain earlier this week, following an invitation from the series organisers.
With only a short window to familiarise herself with the car, Calderon was soon up to speed and manhandled the 550bhp Auto GP machine – heavier, yet more powerful than her Formula 3 racer – around the 4.4km-long Spanish circuit for 25 laps.
The 20-year old ended the morning second quickest overall and the fastest of those sampling Auto GP machinery for the first time, only falling to third in the timesheets behind Auto GP podium finishers Tamás Pál Kiss and Meindert van Buuren.
Calderon was left with an overwhelming sense of satisfaction, having been at ease with more than double the horsepower she’s used to and believes it demonstrates that, beyond her results in F3, she has taken a sizeable leap forwards during the 2013 season.
“This test in a Virtuosi Racing Auto GP car was honestly a great opportunity and I’m very happy with my performance during the half-day I had, as I was able to adapt well to the power and grip that the car produces,” said Calderon. “It was the first time I’ve had 550bhp available to me and you quickly notice the difference! It’s very encouraging to know that I can adapt to it, because I’m sure I’ll race more powerful cars further down the line.
“I think the test also proves how much I’ve learned this year and is a testament to the very high standard of the current FIA Formula 3 European Championship grid. I hope to have more opportunities like this in the future, as it has been an unbelievable, albeit brief, experience. I’m eager to drive one of these cars again, as I loved driving something with that much horsepower!”
Virtuosi Racing Team Owner, Andy Roche, was impressed by how quickly Calderon adapted to Auto GP, saying: “We were absolutely amazed with Tatiana’s talent, especially considering that we put her in a car with twice the power that she’s used to. She listened very carefully, took all of our advice on how to drive the car and went second quickest in a very short time. She has not only impressed us, but the whole paddock.”
Calderon hopes to finalise her plans for the next month, including a return to the cockpit of an F3 car, in the next few days.