Colombian racer Tatiana Calderón will join the IndyCar grid in 2022 driving a third car for AJ Foyt Racing. She will race 12 of the series’ 17 races slated for this year, sticking only to the road course and street course events. Her teammates include the 2021 Indy Lights champ Kyle Kirkwood (who will also be racing with ROKiT sponsorship) and Dalton Kellett-reprising his role with the team for his third season.
With perhaps one of the deepest CVs a racer could possibly have at 28 years old, Calderón has raced pretty much everything but IndyCar at this point. For the last two seasons, she has been a driver in the Japanese Super Formula open wheel series and a driver for the Richard Mille Racing prototype effort in the FIA WEC. For the last four years she has served as test driver for the Alfa Romeo Formula One team. In the past she has raced Formula 2, Renault Series Formula V8 3.5, GP3, European Formula 3, and the British Formula 3 Series. Like I said, she’s qualified.
IndyCar, unlike many other open wheel series, has been host to many female racing drivers in the past, particularly at the Indy 500. Though there have not been any full-time women in the series since 2013. Calderón will carry on the legacy grown in recent years by racers like Pippa Mann, Katherine Legge, Simona de Silvestro, etc. and dating back to when Janet Guthrie first qualified for the Indy 500 back in 1977.
Perhaps a sign of progress for the sport, and for the organization, Tatiana will also be the first woman to ever race under the AJ Foyt Racing banner. Considering the Foyt name dates back to 1965, and AJ himself just turned 87 years old, there has been an awful long time and an awful lot of opportunities for them to hire a woman. That it took until 2022 is perhaps telling, but that this team is the only one to do so in 2022 is also somewhat telling. Either way, good for them!
“I’m thrilled and very thankful to Jonathan Kendrick, ROKiT and AJ Foyt Racing for the opportunity to race in the NTT INDYCAR Series!” exclaimed Calderón. “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.”
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Last summer Calderón tested for the Foyt team at Mid Ohio, which got everyone talking about the potential for expanding the team, and ROKiT’s efforts in 2022. With a bit more money from the company that calls itself a “global conglomerate and start-up incubator” but really mostly sells mobile phones, team president Larry Foyt was able to put the deal together to get her in the car for the 2022 season.
Larry Foyt said, “I’m thrilled with the continuation and expansion of the ROKiT AJ Foyt Racing Team. We welcome Tatiana Calderón in car number 11 joining Kyle Kirkwood in car 14, both in the very cool ROKiT liveries. Tatiana showed a lot of potential in her test at Mid-Ohio. With Dalton Kellett in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators Chevrolet, I think our three-car team is in for an exciting season.”
As confirmation of the new role with the team, Calderón is testing her new car this week at Sebring International. Dalton Kellett is on hand to advise and help get his new teammate up to speed. IndyCar is one of the most competitive open wheel series in the world right now, and while Tatiana is talented, it surely won’t be the work of a moment getting up to snuff with the stacked deck of talent on this year’s grid.