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