Tatiana Calderón recorded her best finish yet in the NTT IndyCar Series as she showed her true speed in a wet and chaotic race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Colombian was classified 15th at the end of a GMR Grand Prix on the Indy road course that both started and ended in wet conditions despite spells of dry running in between, and with only 75 of the 85 scheduled laps being completed.
En route, Tatiana led her first lap of an IndyCar race and showed pace that would have landed her a top-10 finish if not for being hit by another car in the closing stages. She was also the top finisher for the AJ Foyt Racing team on a day of heavy attrition.
The weekend started with good conditions on Friday for free practice and qualifying, as Tatiana went 13th-fastest in her qualifying group to secure a 25th place grid slot ahead of teammate Dalton Kellett and NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson.
That all changed come Saturday with the arrival of rain that forced the entire field to start the race with wet-weather Firestone tyres. Within a few laps, conditions were such that some drivers elected to gamble on an early switch to slicks, the first of several occasions that the field would flip between soft-compound ‘reds’ and grooved rain tyres.
With no fewer than seven caution periods, survival was the name of the game, and Tatiana was able to make steady progress as the race wore on. On lap 35, following the third caution, she even moved to the head of the field during the pitstop phase, her No. 11 appearing at the top of the famous Indy ‘tower’ showing all drivers’ race positions.
A short time later, the rain returned, and by the time of the penultimate restart in what had become a two-hour timed race, Tatiana was up to 11th position. However, a subsequent spin at Turn 3 for Scott McLaughlin caught up Tatiana combined with contact initiated by Alexander Rossi, forced her to run across the gravel, costing her precious positions.
Taking the final restart in 18th, Tatiana finally made it home in 15th. But that late setback did nothing to detract from her strongest showing yet in an IndyCar, the most convincing proof yet of her potential in America’s top single-seater series.
Tatiana Calderón: “I’m super-happy with the performance today, especially on my first visit to a track as special as Indianapolis. Even just finishing the race in such difficult conditions was an achievement in itself. The car felt good in all conditions, I had some strong pace and It was a nice feeling to be able to fight with many other drivers. It was probably one of the craziest races I’ve ever been part of, the strategy calls were really hard with the constantly changing conditions, so I want to thank the AJ Foyt Racing for doing such a good job there. Unfortunately at the final restart I lost some positions after being hit from behind, without that a Top-10 was definitely possible. But more than the result itself, the main thing is the pace we showed, and I’m glad that in every race we are making steps forward.”
With the majority of the IndyCar field now turning their attentions to the Indianapolis 500, Tatiana’s next schedule appearance comes at Detroit on June 5.