Alfa Romeo development driver Tatiana Calderon has been short-listed by IndyCar outfit AJ Foyt Racing for the 2022 season following an "impressive" test by the Colombian at Mid-Ohio.
Calderon, who has raced this year in the Japanese Super Formula championship and in the WEC with Richard Mille Racing Team, was given an outing with the Foyt team at Mid-Ohio just days after the tenth round of the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series that took place at the venue.
And the 28-year-old's competitive sub-69-second lap times left team boss Larry Foyt impressed.
"I honestly didn’t know what to expect, although I know Tatiana’s driven a lot of things – open-wheel and sportscars – and I have plenty of friends and contacts in Europe who told me she’s capable. But she hasn’t had a lot of full-season stuff recently," said Foyt, quoted by Motorsport.com.
"So what was impressive is that she just jumped right in and got on it. She’s driven a lot of quick cars, and cars with quite a lot of downforce, but an Indy car was probably heavier through the steering than anything she’d driven before.
— Tatiana Calderon (@TataCalde) July 10, 2021
"So, especially with some of the high-G corners at Mid-Ohio, I thought it would take her a little longer to get going but in fact she just kept improving every time out. She was really smart about it.
"I went to a bunch of corners to watch, and her car control was good but she also very smooth with the steering inputs. And at the end of the day, she got down to a time that would have put her faster than five or six cars in first practice last race weekend.
"Now obviously, she was the only one testing and we don’t really know where the track was at in terms of grip level – especially with a track that evolves a lot.
"But I think for a first day of not knowing the track, not knowing the car, she ran competitive times."
Calderon's test came courtesy of sponsor ROKiT which also supports the #14 Foyt IndyCar entry driven by Sébastien Bourdais.
While Foyt has a number of options regarding its 2022 line-up, Calderon earned herself a spot on the team's shortlist.
"I would say she’s certainly on our list of potential drivers," he said. "I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves – we’ve got lots of sponsor meetings coming up.
"But the test was something we wanted to do, it held a lot of interest for us and now, after an impressive showing, it’s even more interesting.
"We need to get with the sponsors, get with Tatiana herself, find out what their plans are moving forward and how they might work with our plans."
Calderon was obviously delighted with her test and with the opportunity to sample a machine from a series she ha always closely followed.
"I’m really happy with my performance as well – improving every time and getting more and more comfortable with everybody," she said. "
"Not much more I could ask. I’m very grateful to the AJ Foyt team, to JR Hildebrand [who assisted Calderon], and to ROKiT.
"That is my sponsor in Super Formula, but I’ve missed a few races due to the travel restrictions, so I’m very thankful to ROKiT because IndyCar was one of the few types of single-seaters that I had not driven before. It was an opportunity I could not refuse."