Tatiana Calderón and her Richard Mille Racing teammates came away with a strong top-10 finish in their first-ever attempt at the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race.
Sharing Richard Mille Racing’s Oreca 07-Gibson with Beitske Visser and Sophia Floersch, Tatiana brought home the car in ninth place in the ultra-competitive 24-car LMP2 field, the team having completed 364 gruelling laps of the unforgiving Circuit de la Sarthe.
The 27-year-old Colombian, in only her third LMP2 start, stepped up to the plate of the ‘team leader’ role in the absence of the injured Katherine Legge, and such was tasked with the opening three stints at the wheel of the #50 car, starting from 20th on the grid.
After a rest of just under three hours following her first shift, Tatiana was back at the wheel after darkness fell for another triple stint at around 8pm, and then did a third stretch of the race just around the halfway point in the dead of night.
Two more stints followed for the restless Tatiana, who clambered back aboard the #50 car just before 8am and set the car’s fastest lap of the race during that triple stint, before taking over the reins for the final hour-and-a-half of the race. In total, she completed 131 laps.
For Tatiana, her teammates and the whole Richard Mille Racing crew, ninth place at the finish was a well-earned reward for a near-faultless run, especially for a crew composed entirely of rookies and for a team contesting Le Mans for the very first time.
Tatiana Calderón: “What an experience! I’m super-happy to bring the car back in one piece in P9. Just to finish the race I think is an incredible achievement, and in the top 10 of such a competitive class even more so. Everyone in the team did a fantastic job. I took the start and finished the race. I raced against my all-time hero Juan Pablo Montoya, battling him at some points, so for me it was very enjoyable. It was a unique experience to drive at Le Mans; both in the day and in the night it’s incredible and very challenging. Next year I think we can push a bit more and hopefully get an even better result. But for now, I’m very happy to have taken part in the biggest race in the world and against some incredible competition.”
Unfortunately, Tatiana will not be present at Okayama for the second round of the Super Formula season as the tight turnaround from Le Mans does not allow her to serve Japan’s mandatory 14-day quarantine period for foreign arrivals.
She is planning to be back with the Drago Corse team for the third round of the season at Sugo on October 18, but her next scheduled race appearance will be again with Richard Mille Racing at the next round of the European Le Mans Series at Monza on October 11.