AJ Foyt Racing’s Tatiana Calderon in the No.11 ROKiT Chevrolet says it was a positive opening race of the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season at the Firestone Grand Prix presented by RP Funding on Sunday.
It was positive to finish my first IndyCar race. It was one of the toughest races of my career physically, but I learned with every lap about the car, how track conditions evolve and how to adapt to the different tyre compounds. I made some mistakes, it’s all part of the learning process, and we made an extra pitstop at the end to get more of a feeling for new tyres in race conditions when the track gripped up. It was all about gaining as much experience as we could this weekend. I’m happy with the progression we made through practice and qualifying, but the race was a completely different challenge, and no test can prepare you for that, you simply must go through it for the first time to understand how brutal it can be. A big thank you to the whole AJ Foyt Racing team for their hard work and support and to ROKiT for believing in me. Now there’s a month’s break until Long Beach so I’ll be working on the areas where this race showed we need to focus on.
Tatiana will be back in action for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach next month.
AJ Foyt Racing’s Tatiana Calderon in the No.11 ROKiT Chevrolet gained valuable race experience as she completed her first NTT IndyCar Series race distance at the Firestone Grand Prix presented by RP Funding on Sunday.
The Colombian started the race from 25th and had a great fight with her team-mate Dalton Kellett and came home in 24th place.
Speaking following the action she said:
“It was the toughest race physically of my career. “Obviously, a hundred laps with only one caution was quite hard but I think we managed to get a feeling for both tire compounds. I did a few mistakes running out of road and a few things but sometimes you have to learn the hard way. But I was happy to cross the line to get a bit more information, a bit more fitness for what’s coming next. And to know where I need to improve as well and where I can maybe help with the balance of the cars, so I’m quite happy with all that information. Hopefully, we can come back to Long Beach and push harder.
Making his IndyCar debut, Kyle Kirkwood was extremely impressive as he too completed his first race distance coming home in 18th place.
“I’m super happy with the outcome of everything. “I think this weekend there’s a lot of new moving parts going on, along with myself, and everyone executed. Yeah, we were on the wrong strategy and we got hosed by a caution but that’s part of racing. We showed this entire weekend that we have pace and we showed pace in the race with the ROKiT Chevrolet. We ran right there with veteran drivers like Newgarden and Pagenaud. I was super happy with that. I was thrilled I kind of ran Newgarden down at one point so I couldn’t ask for anything better than that to be honest for my first ever race. It’s just unfortunate we were on the wrong strategy but we were on the right strategy until the caution came out.”
It was a disappointing race for Dalton Kellett who retired with a mechanical issue and speaking following the action he said:
Not the finish we were looking for. “We had really high hopes and expectations coming in from our best qualifying in INDYCAR so far, so I have to commend the No. 4 K-Line Insulators Chevy team for that performance. That was a great day on Saturday – really happy with how it went. Obviously, we were wanting more in the race but suffered a mechanical issue and will figure out what happened there, diagnose that, and make sure it doesn’t happen again. It’s part of the process and learning how to do this better every weekend and that’s all we can ask for. Just got to keep grooving and take the positives from this weekend and go into Texas.”
Team President Larry Foyt said:
It was a tough race day after a really good weekend leading up to today. We were hoping for some better finishes. On the 14 car, the strategy didn’t pay out with the way the long yellow fell due to the wall repair–it definitely hurt the strategy the 14 and the 4 were on. And it’s unfortunate the 4 car had a mechanical problem and couldn’t finish the race. Kyle and Dalton were really happy with their cars and it looks like we have a pretty good street course package. We believe that will continue throughout the year. Both guys did a really good job and drove really hard.
Tatiana did a nice job in her first INDYCAR race, and she made it to the finish. It was definitely the toughest race she’s ever done, so I think she learned a lot and will keep improving from here. We have to look at the positives, we showed good pace in qualifying, now we just need to put the whole weekend together.
The NTT IndyCar Series heads to Florida in less than three weeks’ time for the 2022 season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg.
A number of rookies will be participating in their first IndyCar event. Andretti Autosport’s Delvin DeFransceco will make his debut in the No.29 PowerTap Hydrogen Fueling Corporation Honda.
At Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Christian Lundgaard will make his St Pete debut having made an impressive NTT IndyCar Series race debut last season with RLL last season at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course where he finished the race in 12th place.
Callum Ilott will make his full-time NTT IndyCar Series debut with Juncos Hollinger Racing.
Kyle Kirkwood will make his NTT IndyCar Series race debut for AJ Foyt Racing in the No.14 ROKiT Chevrolet while Tatiana Calderon will also make her series race debut in the No.11 ROKiT Chevrolet.
David Malukas will make his debut for Dale Coyne with HMD Motorsports. The 2022 NTT IndyCar Series rookie class is extremely talented and it will be very interesting to see who rises to the top in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg.
The 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg takes place from February 25-27.
Tatiana Calderon completed her first test as an NTT IndyCar Series driver on Wednesday as she took to the track at Sebring Raceway ahead of making her series race debut in the No.11 ROKiT AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet with the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg next month.
The Colombian was just at the test by fellow NTT IndyCar Series rookie and her teammate Kyle Kirkwood who will drive the No.14 ROKiT Chevrolet.
Taking to Twitter following the session Calderon said:
AJ Foyt Racing’s Tatiana Calderon says that she is excited about the opportunity to compete for the team in the NTT IndyCar Series. It was announced on Monday that the Colombian will compete in road and street course events in the No.11 ROKiT Chevrolet alongside Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood.
Speaking to Paddock Eye on Tuesday, Calderon said that is Excited to get the opportunity to compete against Juan Pablo Montoya who was one of her hero’s growing up. Montoya will compete in the GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May.
Calderon, who impressed during a test with Foyt last season says that she is most looking forward to racing at Road America but is also excited about the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg which takes place from February 25-27.
Calderon said that she learnt a lot from former AJ Foyt Racing driver, Sebastian Bourdais whose car she tested last season.
The Colombian also said that she is looking forward to working as as part of a three car team.
AJ Foyt Racing’s Dalton Kellett, driver of the No.4 K-Line Insulator Chevrolet says he is looking forward to working with Tatiana Calderon and Kyle Kirkwood during the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season.
Speaking to Paddock Eye on day one of media content day on Monday, the Canadian, who is in his third season with the team said that he learnt a lot from his time with both Tony Kanaan in 2020 and four-time CART champion Sebastien Bourdais and that he hopes that this will help the team to move in the right direction in 2022.
Speaking to Paddock Eye about his new teammates, Kellett said that both Kirkwood and Calderon bring a fresh prospective to the team, particularly with Tatiana Calderon as she has raced in so many other categories and he is excited to discover what ideas the pair bring to the team.
Kellett also said that in terms of results what he is looking for is for the team to continue their solid momentum from the end of last season where they were fighting in the midfield pack and to go from there.
The AJ Foyt Racing Team announced on Monday that Tatiana Calderon will compete on all road and street courses in the NTT IndyCar Series from 2022 with sponsorship from ROKiT.
Calderon impressed during a test with the team in 2021 and speaking about her new adventure with the famous team, the Columbian said:
“I’m thrilled and very thankful to Jonathan Kendrick, ROKiT and AJ Foyt Racing for the opportunity to race in the NTT INDYCAR Series! 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
AJ Foyt Racing Team President Larry Foyt commented saying:
I’m elated to announce the continuation and expansion of the ROKiT AJ Foyt Racing Team with Chevrolet power. We welcome Tatiana Calderón in car number 11 joining Kyle Kirkwood in car 14, both in the very cool ROKiT liveries. With Dalton Kellett in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators Chevrolet, I think our 3-car team is in for an exciting season.”
Calderon joins Kyle Kirwood and Dalton Kellett for the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series and will make her race debut in the No.11 ROKiT Chevrolet at next months season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg which takes place from February 25-27.
Co-founder and CEO of ROKiT, Jonathan Kendrick said:
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. “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.