A.J. Foyt Racing adding Tatiana Calderón as team’s first female driver; ROKiT will sponsor

Tatiana Calderón Foyt IndyCar
A.J. Foyt Racing
0 Comments

The NTT IndyCar Series will have a woman in the field for the majority of its races during the 2022 season as Tatiana Calderón will drive for Foyt Racing’s No. 11 Dallara-Chevrolet.

The team will have Calderón, 28, behind the wheel for the 13 street and road course races in expanding to a full-time third car that will be sponsored by ROKiT. A.J. Foyt Racing, which also is fielding full-time entries for 2021 Indy Lights champion Kyle Kirkwood (also being sponsored by ROKiT) and Dalton Kellett, has yet to announce who will drive the car on oval tracks.

Calderón has been racing the Super Formula Series in Japan and in the FIA World Endurance Championship for Richard Mille Racing. A test driver for Alfa Romeo’s Formula One team since 2018, the Bogota, Colombia, native also has raced in Formula 2, Renault Series Formula V8 3.5 (where she was the first woman to finish on the podium in ’17), GP3, Formula 3 and British Formula 3, where she also was the first woman to finish on the podium.

“I’m thrilled and very thankful to Jonathan Kendrick, ROKiT and A.J. Foyt Racing for the opportunity to race in the NTT IndyCar Series,” Calderón said in a team release. “Ever since I started my single-seater career in the United States eleven years ago, IndyCar has been a reference for me and it’s a dream come true to be on the grid this year. I can’t wait to get to St. Petersburg for the first race of the season. I’m well aware of the challenge ahead, but this is the chance of a lifetime and I’m keen on making the most of it.”

During a Zoom news conference Monday, Calderon said she grew up idolizing Colombian star Juan Pablo Montoya. Her first foray into U.S. racing was in Star Mazda 10 years ago.

“I think IndyCar has always been in my radar,” she said. “I think I’ve always been very competitive, and I want to be where the best drivers are at, and I think IndyCar is pretty high up there on the single-seater ladder. I’ve always enjoyed single-seaters quite a lot, as well.

“It’s an honor to be racing in IndyCar after I started my career 10 years ago, and I was just watching those races. Huge privilege in that sense, and I think here in America, in IndyCar, there have been many female drivers coming through, so I think there is more opportunity at the moment for us here. I will obviously make the most out of this opportunity, and I’m really hoping that I can do well and inspire even more girls to join in in karting, in single-seaters, and that they know this is also a great opportunity to showcase that.”

Calderón tested for the team last July at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. She will become the first woman to drive for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt, who turned 87 Sunday.

Calderón will become the first woman driving regularly in IndyCar since Simona de Silvestro in 2013. Last year, de Silvestro was the lone woman to start the Indy 500, which had no female drivers in its 2020 race for the first time since 1999.

Entrepreneur Kendrick, the Co-founder and Chairman of the ROKiT Group of Companies, has supported Calderón’s career since 2020 when she competed in the World Endurance Championship and Super Formula Japan.

“One of our fundamental principles in the overall marketing of the ROKiT brand worldwide is our support and promotion of women in motorsport and, as part of that principle, we’ve supported Tatiana for a long time now,” said Jonathan Kendrick, the co-founder and chairman of ROKiT, which has sponsored Calderón for two years in WEC and Super Formula. :We recognized her talent and charisma early on, which we’ve seen grow and develop, so we’re very excited to be expanding our partnership with Larry and the AJ Foyt Racing Team by having Tatiana drive the No. 11 ROKiT Chevrolet alongside Kyle Kirkwood in the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet this season.

“We know Tatiana is already a role model to many young female drivers around the world and we think the huge exposure of the NTT IndyCar Series will serve only to increase her reach even further to become an inspiration to many more women to get involved in motorsports.”

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
0 Comments

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III