Tatiana Calderón and Richard Mille Racing kicked off the new FIA World Endurance Championship with a strong points finish on Saturday at Spa-Francorchamps.
In an ultra-competitive LMP2 field, Tatiana and her teammates in the Signatech-run #1 Richard Mille Racing Oreca 07-Gibson, Beitske Visser and Sophia Floersch, came away with eighth place in their first race weekend as full-time competitors in the WEC.
It was a satisfying way to round off a hectic week for Tatiana, who travelled directly from Japan after racing in the most recent round of Super Formula at Suzuka last Sunday to arrive in Belgium in time for the first day of the Prologue WEC pre-season test on Monday.
Tatiana was entrusted to qualify the Richard Mille car during Friday’s qualifying session, the Colombian driver setting the 12th-fastest time against stiff competition.
The Colombian would get her first race laps under her belt around the halfway stage of the six-hour race, as Visser took the start and completed the first two stints and Floersch took over for the third and fourth stints.
Tatiana’s time at the wheel was punctuated by two full-course yellow periods, but she nonetheless set the fastest race lap for the car before handing back to Floersch for the final part of the race, playing an important part in securing the team’s result.
Tatiana Calderón: “It’s probably been my longest race week for sure with the Prologue and the race, especially coming straight from the Super Formula race weekend in Japan! A P8 for our WEC debut is a solid start in this championship, a basis from which we need to work hard and make progress as our pace could have been more competitive during the race. The team did a great job as usual preparing a very reliable car and during the race with the strategy calls and pitstops. We now need to focus on extracting more performance from this new configuration of LMP2 car with the Goodyear tyres and understand it a little bit better. Hopefully we can come back stronger for the next round at Portimao in a few weeks.”
The next round of the 2021 WEC season will take place at the Algarve International Circuit in Portimao, Portugal on 12-13 June. Unfortunately, Japan’s tight travel restrictions mean Tatiana is unable to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine in time for the next Super Formula race at Autopolis on May 15-16, meaning she will be absent.