Tatiana Calderón: “We’re there to compete against the best”

Tatiana Calderón is a well-known name in motorsport due to her career full of pushing boundaries for women in motorsport.

Starting out in karting when she was four-years-old, Tatiana is now competing in global championships such as Super Formula and the FIA World Endurance Championship. With this, she’s taking on the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the second time in 2021.

Source: DPPI Images

Tatiana came into contact with motorsport when her sister Paula Calderón decided to take her to a local go-kart track in Colombia where she was born and raised. From there onwards, racing was something that came naturally.

“I fell in love with speed and adrenaline,” she tells Females in Motorsport. “Since that day, the passion and desire for the sport just keeps growing.”

Females in Motorsport last talked to Tatiana in 2019 and since then she’s joined several new championships - one of which is FIA WEC. This is an exciting new challenge as she didn’t have any experience in endurance competition before joining Richard Mille Racing.

“People sometimes underestimate endurance racing because you have to be such a complete driver and there are so many things to learn,” she says. “You have to save fuel, save tyres and need to know when to attack.

“Meanwhile, you’re driving in all kinds of conditions during day and night. I’m definitely enjoying it and I see a benefit as a racing driver to be present in such a high-quality championship.”

Source: DPPI Images

Richard Mille Racing is competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the second time in a row. Tatiana is driving alongside Sophia Flörsch and Beitske Visser who were her team-mates in the 2020 edition of the iconic race.

“Last year was difficult because the first race we did together was actually Le Mans,” she says. “Every time we’re on track we understand each other more, so it’ll be good to show everyone where we are. We’re in a good place to really give it our all.”

Even though she really enjoys endurance racing, Tatiana had to get used to sharing the car with other drivers and adapt to their set-ups.

“You’re very selfish at the beginning,” she says. “You want the right set-up for you, but you have to compromise. It’s all about seeing who can compromise the most without losing too much time.

“It’s hard to give in but you get used to it and you see the benefit that it comes with in terms of pace and results for the whole team. It’s certainly helped me to become a better driver.”

Source: DPPI Images

Tatiana, Sophia and Beitkse finished the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans in P9 in the LMP2 class. Her aim for this year is to stay in the top-10.

“To finish Le Mans is already special,” Tatiana says. “If we can stay in the top-10 that would be really good. There are 25 LMP2 cars with some very impressive line-ups so it would be great if we manage to do that.”

A 24-hour race like Le Mans is very mentally and physically demanding and Tatiana insists that it’s something that you’re never 100% ready for.

“There’s a lot of preparation, but it’s a very demanding race - mentally more than physically,” she says. “When you’re not driving, you really want to go again. Your adrenaline is really high, but still you need to be disciplined and it’s key to know when to relax.”

This year two all-female line-ups are partaking in the iconic event. Alongside Richard Mille Racing, Iron Dames is competing with an all-female crew.

“It shows the progress that we’ve made and the progress that the [FIA Women in Motorsport] commission has really pushed for,” Tatiana says. “We’re showing the right message. We’re there to compete against the best and we’re there to prove that we can do a good job."