A History of Firsts: A Look At Tatiana Calderón’s Trailblazing Career

Colombia’s Tatiana Calderón has helped pave the way for women in motorsports. ATRL’s Immy Cousins’ takes a look at the IndyCar Rookie’s career and where she’s come from.

Written by Immy Cousins

August 8, 2022

A ‘Wonder Woman’ of the motorsport industry, Tatiana Calderón’s love for motorsport came early, like many of her colleagues and competitors. Aged 9, Calderón started driving rental karts at the local track in Bogotá alongside her sister and now manager, Paula. Soon after, the young Columbian began to take racing seriously, and her parents bought her first go-kart. 

 

For the 2005 season, Calderón competed in the EasyKart National Championship in Columbia and became the first woman to win a Colombian National Karting title. To follow this, she gained two more national karting titles, ensuring she qualified for three separate karting world finals. 

Credits: @Actionsports @grindstonemedia

At 14, Tatiana got her first racing car, a Kia Picanto. This was followed by two seasons in Star Mazda Championship racing for Juncos Racing. She finished a respectable 10th in her first season, followed by 6th in the 2011 season. Potentially her most remarkable achievement in the Star Mazda Championship came when she became the first woman in history to stand on the podium. 

 

Between 2011 to 2015, Calderón competed in a variety of F3 series as well as other championships, such as her home race of the 6 Hours of Bogotá in 2012where her team finished 3rd overall and 2nd in class and the MRF Challenge Formula 2000, where she gained a reputation for bold overtakes and finished 2nd overall in the series. In 2014, Tatiana gained the support and advice of Anthony Hamilton and Susie Wolff as a mentor. In addition, the 21-year-old (at the time) became the first woman since 1983 to compete in the prestigious F3 Macau GP, where she finished 13th. 

 

In the following three years, the Colombian racer took the step up to GP3, with her best on-track finish coming at Red Bull Ring, where she finished 3rd in the 2016 race and her highest championship finish was 16th in her final season. During this time, she was picked up by the Sauber F1 Academy, began simulator testing, and joined the team during race weekends. 

 

One of the most significant steps in Tatiana’s career came in 2019 when she became the first and still to date, the only woman to compete in the FIA Formula 2 Series. In addition, during the Baku Feature Race, she led a lap, meaning she is also the only woman ever to lead a race in F2. The Columbian’s 2019 season earned her many titles despite not scoring a single point. She and many others continued to show faith in her career, which led to her gaining further sponsorship to continue her participation in other series after her F2 season, such as the Porsche Super Cup and Japanese Superformula. 

 

Although her early career surrounded working her way through the Junior Formula Levels, in 2020, it turned towards further endurance racing in a bid to progress into top-level racing series. Having competed in the 24 Hours of Daytona and ELMS in 2020, she signed up for WEC for the 2021 season, where she competed alongside Sophia Flörsch and Beiske Visser, with whom she’d also shared a car during her 24 Hours of Le Mans debut in 2020.

Credits: @Actionsports @grindstonemedia

This brings us to the current season. After impressing A.J. Foyt Enterprises during her testing of their car, they offered the now 29-year-old a drive in the No.11 car for the 2022 IndyCar Season. So far this season, Calderón has accumulated 58 points in the championship, leaving her 28th in the standings of her rookie season. Despite a solid start to her rookie season, Calderón is currently facing sponsorship issues; therefore, the No.11 car is temporarily not racing. However, in the face of this, the Columbian is hopeful of resolving any issues and plans to finish the season well. 

 

It is clear that Calderón’s career up to now came with many firsts, and this continues the more her career develops. An inspiration for young women across the globe, Tatiana Calderón continues to defy odds to become one of the most successful women motorsports has ever seen. 

 

Check Out Our Interview with Tatiana Calderón!

“I dreamt of becoming a Formula One driver, driving a Formula One car, and I’m here in that position. I have driven a Formula One car, and it was just because I believed that anything was possible. We should never let other people dictate how high we can get and how good we can be. It’s just up to you about how much you’re willing to work for it. Once you decide what your passion is, you should go for it.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Immy is a long time fan of motorsports having grown up watching it with her family. Being in isolation at University in late 2020 allowed her to really grow a love for it. She is currently studying BA Sociology at University with the intent to train to be a teacher. Immy has a particular interest in the media side of motorsports which led her to creating F1/Motorsport themed TikToks in her spare time. She enjoys writing both about F1 and F2 as well as the diversity in the sport. You can find her on Twitter @immy_cousins.

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