Tatiana Calderón and her Richard Mille Racing team came away empty-handed in their second outing in the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours race last weekend.
Hopes were high for the Colombian and her teammates aboard the #1 Richard Mille Oreca 07, Sophia Floersch and Beitske Visser, of bettering the ninth-place finish they scored in the super-competitive LMP2 class on the team’s Le Mans debut last year.
Unfortunately, those ambitions were dashed in the sixth hour of the race when Floersch was caught up in an incident not of her making at the Porsche Curves, also involving the #26 G-Drive Racing and the #74 Eurasia Motorsport Ligier. Thankfully, Floersch was unhurt.
Tatiana had been at the wheel of the #1 machine for the start of the race, starting in 22nd place but making up considerable ground in the wet conditions as numerous other drivers – including some of the top-class Hypercar runners – were caught out on the slippery track.
Tatiana stayed at the wheel for the first two hours and 13 minutes of the race, completing 32 laps and setting what proved to be the car’s fastest lap of the race before pitting to hand over to Visser. In that time, she had moved up to 10th in class, up 12 places.
At around the four-and-a-half hour mark, it was Floersch’sturn to drive, but the team was able to go no further after the car was terminally damaged in the crash in the sixth hour.
That brought an early end to Tatiana’s second Le Mans adventure, but the experience has only left her hungrier than ever to return to global endurance racing’s biggest stage.
Tatiana Calderón: “Unfortunately our second time here at Le Mans was cut short. There’s nothing Sophia could have done to avoid the crash, it was not her mistake at all. But that’s racing sometimes and it can be cruel. But to take the positives, I had a lot of fun doing the first three stints, and especially the first one in the wet in such tricky conditions but not making any mistakes and gaining positions. I think we showed some really good pace in the dry as well, which I think is the result of all the amazing work the team has done in the last two weeks and all the preparation beforehand. It’s not the result we wanted, I think we could have been pretty high up without the incident, but I really cannot wait to come back to this place next year because it’s just amazing and it keeps surprising me.”
The 2021 WEC season will conclude after a two-month break with two races held back-to-back in Bahrain on October 30 and November 6.
Japan’s continuing strict travel restrictions mean Tatiana will unfortunately be unable to compete in this weekend’s Motegi round of the Super Formula series in Japan.