Tatiana Calderón is feeling well prepared for her return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship ahead of this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The Colombian driver is making her return to United States competition as a whole after joining the Gradient Racing team for the five rounds that make up the Michelin Endurance Cup - also including legendary tracks like Sebring, Indianapolis and Road Atlanta.
Having missed a private test in December due to illness, Tatiana was able to get her first experience of the Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 she will race at Daytona in last week’s three-day pre-event test, known as the ‘Roar Before the Rolex 24’, which culminating in qualifying.
Sharing a car with fellow top female racers Katherine Legge and Sheena Monk, as well as experienced British driver Stevan McAleer, Tatiana racked up 61 laps of the legendary Daytona International Speedway, setting a best lap of 1m46.720s in the ultra-competitive GT Daytona (GTD) class.
Legge was installed at the wheel of the #66 Gradient entry for Sunday’s qualifying session, and set the third-fastest time in the 23-strong GTD field, also beating many of the cars entered by factory-supported teams in the more senior GTD Pro class.
Such a strong performance in qualifying, combined with a smooth two days of running in the lead-up, makes Tatiana confident that she and her Gradient teammates are in a good position to start the new season strongly and fight for a coveted Rolex watch, the prize that is handed to each driver of the winning car of each class.
Tatiana Calderón: “I’m really happy to get the season started with the ‘Roar’. It was my first time with Gradient Racing and with the Acura NSX GT3. The team has done a great job. They have given me enough laps to feel confident and comfortable in the car. We’ve been through a good programme of setup changes, of different fuel levels, tyre degradation. I’m feeling confident heading into race week, especially as we are starting in P3. Katherine did a great lap, so we are just hoping to adjust the last couple of details next week in practice and we hope we can be there fighting for the Rolex at the end. I want to thank my sponsors for this opportunity, La Bichota, and her Foundation ConCora, AVL, Wandr Studio, Escuderia Telmex, El Ministerio del Deporte and the Team’s main sponros JG Wentworth. I can’t wait to get started.”
ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA WEEKEND TIMETABLE
All times Eastern Standard Time
Thursday January 25
Practice 1 - 10:05am
Practice 2 - 2:10pm
Practice 3 - 6:35pm
Friday January 26
Practice 4 - 11:20am
Saturday January 27
Race - 1:40pm