Tatiana Calderón kicked off her first full season of sportscar racing with an
impressive top-five finish in last weekend’s 4 Hours of Le Castellet at the
Circuit Paul Ricard.
In her first race in the European Le Mans Series, the Colombian rising star shared the Richard Mille Racing team’s Oreca LMP2 with Andre Negrao, who was parachuted in to replace Katherine Legge following the British driver’s testing crash earlier in the week.
Preferring to focus on race preparations over out-and-out pace, the pair qualified 13th on Saturday for the Signatech-run team’s first race and made solid progress up the order throughout an eventful four hours of race action on Sunday.
Tatiana took the start of the race and faced a steep learning curve negotiating traffic while fighting her fellow LMP2 runners for position. In her previous sportscar race, January’s Daytona 24 Hours, she was in the entry-level GT Daytona class, but this time she was the one doing having to thread her way past the slower LMP3 and GTE cars.
The 27-year-old’s double stint was cut short when a full-course yellow (FCY) was called early in the second hour, with the team taking the opportunity to pit. Having climbed up to eighth place by this stage, Tatiana watched on as temporary teammate Negrao continued her good work, the Brazilian handing back the controls of the #50 car late in the third hour.
Back at the wheel for the run to the chequered flag, Tatiana finally brought home the car sixth on the road, and after a post-race penalty for the second-placed Graff squad, she and Negrao were promoted to fifth in the final results – an excellent showing for Richard Mille Racing’s first race, and one that bodes well for the rest of the season.
Tatiana Calderón: “I’m really happy to start the season with a top-five in my first race for the Richard Mille Racing team, especially after everything that happened in the test. I’m really happy that Katherine is recovering after her surgery, and I’m really grateful that the team put Andre in the car. He did a mega job and he was really trying to share all the information, which was very beneficial. I think the team did a great job with the strategy. From free practice and from qualifying we already thinking about the tyres to use in the race, and in the race we did everything right. I felt more and more comfortable as the race progressed and I think my second double-stint at the end of the race was much better than my previous one. It’s difficult to get used to the traffic, so there is more to come from my