Tatiana Calderón is ready to return to endurance racing as she kicks off the 2023 European Le Mans Series season with the 4 Hours of Barcelona.
The Colombian driver is returning to the endurance racing arena for her 2023 campaign after a year away from the discipline to focus exclusively on single-seaters, joining LMP2 squad Team Virage for the six four-hour events that make up the ELMS calendar.
This weekend’s 4 Hours of Barcelona sees 11 cars entered in LMP2 Pro/Am (a class which requires at least one bronze-rated driver, according to the FIA’s driver categorisation), with 18 LMP2 cars set to participate in total as part of a packed 42-car grid.
Silver-rated Tatiana will be going up against some stiff opposition, including ex-Formula 1 drivers Nelson Piquet Jr, Paul di Resta and Gianmaria Bruni, her childhood hero Juan Pablo Montoya, and established sportscar racing aces like Nicolas Lapierre and Louis Deletraz.
Additionally, Tatiana will be driving the Oreca LMP2 car in its fastest state with the regular downforce kit and engine mapping, as opposed to the slowed-down version now used in the World Endurance Championship to keep a suitable gap to the new Hypercars.
Tatiana and her new teammates, Rob Hodes and Ian Rodriguez, will have two days of testing to re-familiarise themselves with Barcelona on April 19-20 as part of the official pre-season Prologue. Although the Spanish venue is one very familiar to Tatiana, she will be tackling the original final sector of the 4.657km track with no chicane for the first time in her career.
The Prologue leads straight into first practice on Friday April 21, while the four-hour race itself is slated to begin on Sunday April 23 at 11:30 local time. Team Virage’s LMP2 prototype will carry the logo of Tatiana’s recently launched book La Niña más Veloz que el Viento, written by Gabriela Cordero and published by Rey Naranjo editorials, commemorating the International Book Day and Sant Jordi, which is celebrated on Sunday in Catalunya.
On Saturday and Sunday several girls and boys will accompany Tatiana with the aim of raising awareness that motor racing is a mixed sport, to learn about Tatiana's story through her book. All the earnings from the book will be destined to the Corporación Juego y Niñez in Colombia, who will develop an educational program that seeks to transform current stereotypes.
Tatiana Calderón: “I’m very excited to finally kick off the season with the Prologue test and the Barcelona race. It will be my first race with the team, and with the new track layout, so that could represent a big challenge in terms of tyre management. Hopefully we can gather some information on that during the Prologue and have a strong first weekend. I’m grateful to have the support of the Bichota again this year. It’s a movement that I’m very proud to represent, and I have to thank again Karol G and her team, as well as my sponsors Terpel, AVL, Escudería Telmex and the Virage Group for their support on this new journey.”
4 HOURS OF BARCELONA TIMETABLE Friday April 21 Free Practice 1 - 11:50 Saturday April 22 Free Practice 2 - 10:10 Qualifying (LMP2 Pro/Am) - 15:30 Sunday April 23 Race - 11:30
2023 ELMS CALENDAR April 23 4 Hours of Barcelona July 16 4 Hours of Le Castellet (Paul Ricard) August 26 4 Hours of Aragon September 24 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps October 21 4 Hours of Portimao October 22 4 Hours of Algarve