Tatiana Calderón concluded her first full season of FIA World Endurance Championship racing in last weekend’s Bahrain 8 Hours for the Richard Mille Racing team.
The Colombian arrived in Sakhir fresh from her final Super Formula race of the season in Japan, slotting seamlessly back into the Signatech-run Richard Mille squad, having had to miss the previous weekend’s six-hour event at the Bahrain International Circuit.
With the race starting in the mid-afternoon and concluding well into darkness, the changing conditions across the eight hours proved a challenge for all the WEC teams, and in the end Tatiana and her teammates aboard the #1 Oreca 07-Gibson, Beitske Visser and Sophia Floersch, had to be content with a ninth-place finish in the LMP2 class.
Hopes were raised that the Richard Mille team could match or even better sixth-place finish earned by the team in the six-hour Bahrain race after qualifying an encouraging sixth in class, ahead of some title-contending crews.
But the race itself didn’t unfold in the way the team had hoped, and by the time Tatiana began her first double-stint at around the three-hour 20-minute mark, it had become clear that even maintaining the team’s starting position would represent a big achievement.
The Colombian first double stint at the wheel came to an end just before the five-hour-mark, and she took over for one final single stint with 40 minutes left on the clock to bring home the Richard Mille machine in ninth place, three laps off the class lead.
Tatiana Calderón: “The weekend started well with the pace we showed in free practice and qualifying looked promising, but with Bahrain being such a difficult circuit for the tyres, we didn’t quite have the strategy to be able to maintain our position. P9 wasn’t where we wanted to finish, especially starting P6, but we fought all the way and brought the car home to the finish. This year represented another step up in the racing ladder and I come out of this season with plenty of learning, stronger in many different ways and better prepared to take on the next challenge. I want to thank Richard Mille Racing and the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission for the opportunity. Now I look forward to seeing what next season has in store.”
The Bahrain 8 Hours marked the final date on what has been a packed 2021 schedule for Tatiana, who will now turn her focus towards finalising her racing plans for 2022. An announcement will be made in due course.