Calderon Becomes Foyt’s First Female Driver

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, January 22 2022

Tatiana Calderon is Foyt Racing’s newest IndyCar Series driver.

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer

Tatiana Calderón has signed a gender-breaking contract for the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season as first female to drive for AJ Foyt Racing.

Next up…Tatiana’s initial visit to the team’s headquarters in Waller, Texas, and first face-to-face meeting with team-founder and open-wheel icon Anthony Joseph Foyt Jr. It’s a moment previously shared between “Super Tex” and an international cast of drivers including Sweden’s Kenny Brack, Brazil’s Tony Kanaan, Japan’s Takuma Sato and Americans Billy Boat, Eddie Cheever, Robby Gordon and Bryan Herta.

Foyt _ first four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 _ turned 87 on Sunday, Jan. 16. Calderón’s hiring was confirmed the day after during the opening session of the series’ 2022 Media Content Days at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“Obviously, I’ve read a lot of what he’s (Foyt) done _ about the Indy 500, as well_ everything that he has won,” said Calderón, a 28-year-old native of Bogota, Colombia. “I think it will be a privilege to be able to share some experiences with him, to look at him in the eyes. I think that’s one of the biggest things…when you have that connection, that feeling with somebody. Hopefully, it will be very soon.”

Calderón will drive Foyt’s No 11 Chevrolet in the series’ 12 street-and-road-course events with backing from ROKiT Group, which is sponsoring two of the team’s expanded and revamped three-car lineup. As previously announced, 2021 Indy Lights Series champion Kyle Kirkwood will drive the No. 14 Chevrolet while Canadian Dalton Kellett returns in the No. 4 Chevrolet.


Calderón spent the last two seasons competing in Super Formula in Japan for Threebond Drago Corse and for Richard Mille Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship. She also has been a test driver for the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team for the past four years. Her extensive resume includes stints in Formula 2, Renault Series Formula V8 3.5, where she was the first female on the podium in Bahrain in 2017, GP3, European Formula 3 and the British Formula 3 Series, where she was the first female to score a podium.

Currently living in Madrid, Calderón tested the No. 14 Chevrolet at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, last July. That session resulted in Team President Larry Foyt making the eventual hire of Calderón.

“Yeah, it’s been an amazing time that I have spent with ROKiT for the last two years in Super Formula in Japan,” Calderón said during her IMS presser. “But obviously when the chance came to test an Indy car last July I felt really great with the team in the car. We’ve been in discussions really since then, but good things take time and we finally managed to put everything together last week.

I’m very excited, very thankful to both ROKiT and A.J. Foyt for this amazing opportunity and to really start this thing quite soon and get acclimatized with the car and the team around me.”

Calderón said competing in INDYCAR always has been on her career radar. She will drive in 12 of the series’ 17 races this season. The team has not announced a driver for the schedule’s five oval races, beginning with the XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth on March 20 and highlighted by the 106th edition of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29. Kirkwood and Kellett will drive the full schedule.

Calderón said competing in the Indy 500 certainly is another career goal. “Obviously, I’ve only tested the car one day back in July,” Tatiana said, “so we thought to take things easy to start off with, the road-courses, build up to hopefully test in an oval, see how I feel, see how my confidence with the car comes. But of course _ who wouldn’t love to do the Indy 500 one day? Yeah, we’re just taking it step-by-step.

“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. It’s an honor to be racing in INDYCAR after I started my career 10 years ago, and I was just watching those races.

“Yeah, huge privilege in that sense, and I think here in America, in INDYCAR, there has 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. I’m really hoping that I can do well and inspire even more girls to join in karting, in single-seaters, and that they know this is also a great opportunity to showcase that.”

Entrepreneur Jonathan Kendrick, 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,” Kendrick said. “We recognized her talent and charisma early-on, which we’ve seen grow and develop.

“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.”

Calderón and Kirkwood will make their series debuts in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Fla., on Feb. 27, which will be broadcast on NBC at noon (EST).


Veteran Conor Daly will return to Ed Carpenter Racing for a full-season Series schedule in 2022, driving the No. 20 Chevrolet.

The 2022 season will mark Daly’s third at ECR but first as fulltime driver of the No. 20 Chevrolet. The previous two seasons have seen Daly split driving time between two teams. Daly drove for ECR in the road-and-street-course events and the Indianapolis 500; in the remaining oval events, he drove for Carlin. Over the past eight years Daly has competed in 80 INDYCAR races. The 2021 Indianapolis 500 emerged as a career highlight, as he led a race-high 40 laps.

“To be able to come back to Ed Carpenter Racing for the full season is incredible,” said Daly, a 30-year-old native of Noblesville, Ind. “I haven’t had the chance to be with one team for the entire year since 2017, so this is something I am very, very thankful for. I have a lot of faith in ECR and each year we continue to get better together. I couldn’t be more excited to get on track in the BitNile Chevrolet.”

BitNile Founder and Executive Chairman Milton “Todd” Ault III has spent his career investing in undervalued assets and disruptive technologies. Ault believes joining the NTT IndyCar Series with ECR will yield similar rewards.

“I’m extremely proud to welcome BitNile to the ECR family,” Carpenter said. “It’s exciting to be able to expand our team’s involvement in the culture of Bitcoin after running the Bitcoin car last May. We will also represent a few other exciting brands within BitNile Holdings as the year progresses, so there is more to come.”

ECR will continue to field two full-time entries in 2022. Daly’s season-long teammate is fellow third-year ECR driver VeeKay, of The Netherlands, in the No. 21 Chevrolet. Carpenter, a three-time Indianapolis 500 pole-winner, will join Daly and VeeKay to round-out ECR’s three-car program for the 106th Indy 500. Confirmation of Carpenter’s participation in additional oval events may come at a later date.


Two-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya has been booked to drive the No. 6 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet in both the GMR Grand Prix and 106th edition of the Indianapolis 500 in May. Montoya’s entry will again be backed by Mission Foods.

Montoya will join fulltime Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist to complete the team’s lineup for the Month of May. The GMR Grand Prix is scheduled for Saturday, May 13, on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road-Course with the Indy 500 set for Sunday, May 29, on the 2.5-mile oval.

“I’m excited to return to Indianapolis with Arrow McLaren SP and Mission, to once again compete in a race that holds a special place in my heart _ the Indianapolis 500,” Montoya said. “I had a great experience with the team last year and look forward to building on the progress we made in 2021. I think we have a real shot at competing at the front of the field and challenging for the win.”

Montoya finished ninth in the 105th Indy 500 during his sixth start in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” A 46-year-old native of Colombia, Montoya won the race as a rookie in 2000 and repeated in 2015.

“Juan Pablo is an institution in motorsport, with two Indianapolis 500 victories and an impressive Formula One career with multiple wins for McLaren,” said Zak Brown, McLaren Racing CEO. “He adds experience that really benefits our team, giving us another driver with the potential to win any time he steps into the car.”

The Mission brand will be represented on the No. 6 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet during both races, as well as on the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet driven by O’Ward, a native of Mexico, and the No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet piloted by Rosenqvist, a native of Sweden.


Popular veteran Tony Kanaan will return to Chip Ganassi Racing to compete in the 106th Indianapolis 500 with support from the American Legion.

The 2004 IndyCar Series champion, Kanaan will attempt to make his 20th career Indy 500 start in the American Legion Honda. The native Brazilian won the race in 2013 and qualified on-pole in 2005. He has 11 top-10 finishes in the 500, including 10th last May for team-owner Ganassi.

“Last year with the Legion, I’ve learned how much they do for the veterans,” Kanaan said. “It brought it to my attention. Proud to be back. I’m really happy to be back.”

Kanaan, 47, will be part of a five-car lineup for Ganassi in the Indianapolis 500, joining fulltime team drivers Alex Palou of Spain, the reigning Series champion; six-time series champion Scott Dixon of New Zealand, the 2008 Indy 500 winner; Marcus Ericsson of Sweden and seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson.

“We’re a pretty big organization,” Kanaan said. “The team is very well prepared. Chip takes the 500 as the race of the team’s life. We’re there to win.”

(Editor’s Note: John Sturbin is a Texas-based journalist specializing in motorsports. During a near 30-year career with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he won the Bloys Britt Award for top motorsports story of the year (1991) as judged by The Associated Press; received the National Hot Rod Association’s Media Award (1997) and several in-house Star-Telegram honors. He also was inaugural recipient of the Texas Motor Speedway Excellence in Journalism Award (2009). His list of freelance clients has included Texas Motor Speedway, the Dallas Morning News, New York Newsday, NASCAR Wire Service and Ford Racing).


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, January 22 2022
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