Foyt: Calderon “on our list" of potential IndyCar drivers for 2022

Larry Foyt says that Tatiana Calderon is among several potential candidates for an AJ Foyt Racing ride in 2022, following an “impressive” first IndyCar test with the team at Mid-Ohio

Tatiana Calderón, A.J. Foyt Enterprises

Larry Foyt says that Tatiana Calderon is among several potential candidates for an AJ Foyt Racing ride in 2022, following an “impressive” first IndyCar test with the team at Mid-Ohio.

Calderon trialled IndyCar machinery for the first time at the Lexington circuit, in which she regularly lapped within the 1m09s bracket before bringing her best down to a high 1m08s lap.

Foyt, president of AJ Foyt Racing, explained that he "didn't know what to expect" from Calderon despite her vast experience across a number of disciplines, but was impressed by the way she acquitted herself.

"What was impressive is that she just jumped right in and got on it," Foyt told Autosport.

"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.

“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.”

The test was made possible through her sponsor ROKiT, which also sponsors the #14 AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet in which Sebastien Bourdais has been competing this year.

But Foyt denied that this gave an indication of what situation the team may find itself in for 2022.

“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.

Tatiana Calderón, A.J. Foyt Enterprises

Tatiana Calderón, A.J. Foyt Enterprises

Photo by: Yesid Pamplona.

"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’re enjoying working with Seb. Obviously it’s frustrating that we’ve had the pace at a lot of tracks but haven’t put the whole weekend together.

“But 2022… I don’t want to go into that because the situation is open – and I mean really open – at the moment. We’ve got meetings with ROKiT soon. There are different options on the table."

Calderon herself was also pleased with the test, which she said was “very, very exciting because I started my career in the U.S. 10 years ago, and I’ve followed IndyCar for many years.”

“I’m really happy with my performance as well – improving every time and getting more and more comfortable with everybody," she continued.

"Not much more I could ask. I’m very grateful to the AJ Foyt team, to JR Hildebrand [there to assist and advise], and to ROKiT. It was an opportunity I could not refuse.”

Regarding the IndyCar itself in which she turned 87 laps, Calderon said, “I liked the car very much. It had a good amount of power, and the brakes were very impressive – I would say, similar to Formula 1 in braking capacity.

“All cars have their certain qualities that are difficult to handle, so I’m very lucky as the IndyCar had good power and less downforce which is the direction that Formula 1 is going in.

“I had not raced Mid-Ohio before and the test was sort-of last-minute, so I had to do iRacing at home – no time to do anything else!

“It’s a tricky track to start out on, so that was another reason I was pleased with my performance."

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