Tatiana Calderón will return to action in this weekend’s second round of the European Le Mans Series at Paul Ricard after a long break of almost three months.
Following her debut with the team back in April at Barcelona, the Colombian driver is continuing her campaign with Team Virage for the 4 Hours of Le Castellet, with the cancellation of May’s Imola round creating a large gap in the ELMS schedule.
After scoring valuable points by finishing ninth in the LMP2 Pro/Am class in the curtain-raiser, Tatiana will be looking to make further progress up the order on her first visit to Paul Ricard, the French Grand Prix venue, since 2021.
She will be joined in Virage’s #19 Oreca 07 by Ian Rodriguez and Alexander Mattschull, with the team’s regular bronze-rated driver Rob Hodes again unable to take up his seat after breaking his ribs in a crash in practice at Barcelona.
The competition is again set to be fierce at Paul Ricard, with 11 cars entered for the LMP2 Pro/Am category as part of a packed 42-car field. Ex-Formula 1 racer Nelson Piquet Jr, Le Mans 24 Hours winner Nicolas Lapierre and Colombian legend Juan Pablo Montoya are just some of the names Tatiana and her team-mates will have to overcome this weekend.
Track action begins with two collective test sessions on Thursday, before the weekend proper kicks off on Friday with the first official practice session. After qualifying on Saturday, the four-hour race is set to begin on Sunday at 11:30am local time (CEST).
Tatiana Calderón: “It’s been a while since my last race in Barcelona, but I took the chance to spend some time in Colombia. I visited the Bogotá book fair, and it was very nice to see the reception that my book received and the girls and boys identifying with the message of challenging stereotypes. I also visited the Indy 500, where I saw a lot of familiar faces from my season racing in IndyCar, but now I’m eager to get back to racing. I’ve been keeping myself sharp with karting, physical training and simulator work, and understand the things we can do better as a team. Unfortunately, Rob again won’t be with us this weekend, I wish him a speedy recovery and we will miss him. The Team did an amazing job by finding a good replacement and Alexander Mattschull will be competing with us this weekend. He won the Le Mans Cup last year, so I’m confident with good work we can achieve a good result together. I raced at Paul Ricard two years ago with Richard Mille Racing, although the tyres have changed since then, but we have a test day on Thursday to get back into the rhythm and work towards the race.”
4 HOURS OF LE CASTELLET TIMETABLE
Friday July 14
Free Practice 1 - 11:40
Saturday July 15
Free Practice 2 - 10:10
Qualifying (LMP2 Pro/Am) - 15:20
Sunday July 16
Race - 11:30
2023 ELMS CALENDAR
4 Hours of Barcelona April 23
4 Hours of Le Castellet (Paul Ricard) July 16
4 Hours of Aragon August 26
4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps September 24
4 Hours of Portimao October 21
4 Hours of Algarve October 22