Tatiana Calderón will make her debut as a full-time FIA World Endurance Championship driver this weekend with Richard Mille Racing at Spa.
Following a successful first season racing sports prototypes in the European Le Mans Series in 2020, Tatiana takes the next step on her endurance racing journey this year as she shares Richard Mille Racing’s Signatech-run Oreca-Gibson with teammates Sophia Floersch and Beitske Visser for the full six-round WEC season. This will include another automatic entry into the Le Mans 24 Hours.
This year heralds the start of a new era for the WEC with the introduction of the new ‘Hypercar’ regulations, which have attracted manufacturers like Peugeot, Audi, Porsche, Ferrari and Acura. They will all be joining incumbent top-class marques Toyota and Alpine in the coming seasons, making the WEC one of the most attractive championships around for any professional driver.
Spa-Francorchamps is a track that Tatiana knows very well from her days racing in European Formula 3, GP3 and Formula 2, and although it’s one of her favourites the track will forever be associated with the bitter memories of Tatiana’s then-teammate Anthoine Hubert’s fatal accident in 2019. The Colombian racer made her first Spa outing in an LMP2 car for last year’s ELMS round.
There have been several changes to the LMP2 rules for this year to accommodate the new ‘Hypercars’, which are several seconds a lap slower than the LMP1 cars they replace. These include an increase in minimum weight, a reduction in horsepower, and the mandatory use of the low downforce, Le Mans-spec aero kit. To make matters even more complicated, every LMP2 team must now use Goodyear tyres, instead of the Michelins used by Richard Mille Racing in 2020.
All of that is sure to make the Spa weekend a challenge for Tatiana and her teammates, but with the famous Belgian track looking poised to deliver some of its traditional mixed weather this weekend, the 28-year-old will be hoping to take advantage of the rain to start off her WEC season in the best possible way.
Tatiana Calderón:“It’s been a long couple of days travelling from Suzuka to Spa, two of the best circuits in the world, but I’m very fortunate to get to drive on both just a few hours apart after testing with the team on Monday following the Super Formula on Sunday! Everyone inside the Richard Mille Racing team is really excited to kick off the new season this weekend at such a great circuit and against such a competitive field as the FIA WEC has this season in our LMP2 class. We will push hard to start the season as well as possible. Of course there is still a lot to learn with the new tyres and the mandatory low-downforce aero kit. Passing traffic is now even more of a challenge with the speed of our cars and the GT class being closer and we still haven’t done much running in this car with this configuration. It’s never easy to return to Spa with the memories of losing Anthoine here but we continue to race for him and giving our best every time just like he did. Anything is possible at Spa.”