James Calado is a British racing driver who currently competes with Ferrari in the FIA World Endurance Championship. He won GT World Endurance Drivers' Championship in 2017, together with Alessandro Pier Guidi. At Le Mans 24 Hours, Calado reached the top in 2019, winning the GTE Pro class.
Earlier in a career, Calado was a front-runner in all open-wheel competitions he entered, gaining some success in Formula Renault, Formula 3, GP3 Series and GP2 Series.
Early success in karting competitions and Formula Renault
Born in June 1989 in Cropthorne, UK, James Calado spent his teenage years in karting competitions, making a transition to formula racing in 2008. He joined Fortec Motorsport to compete in the Formula Renault UK, finishing second among rookies and seventh overall in his debut season. In 2008, he won Formula Renault UK Winter Cup and Portuguese Formula Renault Winter Series.
He stayed with Fortec in 2009 and scored eight wins in the British Formula Renault, ending a season second in the points, behind Dean Smith. Calado also entered Formula Renault Eurocup in three rounds, scoring no wins or podiums.
British Formula 3 vice-champion in 2010
In 2010, Calado made a move to the British Formula 3 Championship, driving the #2 Dallara-Volkswagen for Carlin. He was among the front-runners again, scoring twelve podiums, including five wins. He finished second in the points, losing a title to Jean-Eric Vergne.
Outside the UK, Calado participated in the annual non-championship Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix, finishing in 19th place. That year, Calado was funded by Racing Step Foundation.
James Calado in 2011
Vice-champion in the 2011 GP3 Series
In 2011, Calado graduated to the GP3 Series and finished as a runner-up for the third season in a row. He was driving for Lotus ART, scoring one victory and six podiums to finish seven points behind his teammate Valtteri Bottas in the final classification.
At the end of the season, Calado participated in GP2 Final at Yas Marina Circuit, finishing 8th in the Feature Race and winning the Sprint Race.
Two seasons in the GP2 Series
Calado made a step up to the GP2 Series in 2012, driving the #9 car for Lotus GP. He repeated a success from Yas Marina, winning the Sprint Race in the season-opening round at Sepang. Later in the season, he won Sprint Race at Hockenheimring and finished fifth in the points, the most successful among rookies.
Lotus GP became ART Grand Prix in 2013 and retained Calado in its line-up. At the wheel of the #3 Car, he scored two wins in sprint races at Spa and Yas Marina, to finish third in the points behind Fabio Leimer and Sam Bird.
James Calado as Force India F1 Team's driver
Test driver for Force India in 2013
During the 2013 season, Force India F1 team selected Calado for the Young Driver's test at Silverstone, held in July. He was successful, setting the fourth fastest time on the first day.
As a result of this, Force India gave him an opportunity to be their third driver in five F1 Grand Prix events. He participated in practice sessions in Italy, Korea, India, Abu Dhabi and Brazil.
James Calado in 2014
Calado joined AF Corse in 2014
After two seasons in GP2 Series, faced with no free seats in Formula One, Calado had to decide where he would continue a career. He joined AF Corse in the FIA World Endurance Championship, driving the #71 Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 alongside Davide Rigon. They finished fifth in GTE Pro class in the first race at Silverstone and then third at Spa.
Unfortunately, he withdrew from his debut at 24 Hours of Le Mans after he crashed badly during qualifying. He was injured and Pierre Kaffer replaced him in the race. Later in the season, Calado and Rigon scored four more podiums and they finished seventh in GT drivers classification.
Podium at 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours
In his second FIA WEC season, Calado continued to share the #71 Ferrari with Davide Rigon. They scored five podiums to finish fourth in the World Endurance Cup for GT drivers.
One of those podiums was the second place at 24 Hours of Le Mans. The third driver in the #71 Ferrari was Olivier Beretta and they finished the race five laps behind class winners in a Chevrolet Corvette.
New car and new co-driver in 2016
For the 2016 FIA WEC season, Calado gets a new car (Ferrari 488 GTE) and a new co-driver (Gianmaria Bruni), moving to the #51 car.
After retiring at Le Mans, where the third driver was Alessandro Pier Guidi, Calado scored his first WEC victory at 6 Hours of Nürburgring. He and Bruni added six more podiums to their accounts and finished third in the final classification of GT drivers.
Outside FIA WEC, he participated in two endurance races in the US. At Daytona 24 Hours, he was tenth in GTLM class with SMP Racing's Ferrari 488 GTE. Then, in season's finale at Road Atlanta, he won 10-hour Petit Le Mans in the #62 Risi Competizione's Ferrari, sharing a car with Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander.
World champions Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado
World endurance champion in 2017
For the 2017 FIA WEC season, Alessandro Pier Guidi joined James Calado as a full-time co-driver in the #51 Ferrari 488 GTE.
They won three races (Nürburgring, Austin, Fuji) and added four more podiums to take the championship title among GT drivers. At Le Mans 24h, they were just 11th in GTE Pro class.
2017 - podiums both at Daytona and Sebring
In 2017, Calado expanded his racing programme outside FIA WEC. In the US, he rejoined Risi Competizione in two races, Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours. He scored two podiums in GTLM class, finishing third both at Daytona and Sebring, in the #62 Ferrari 488 GTE he was sharing with Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander.
Calado also raced with Kaspersky Motorsport in all five races of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup. He was sharing the #55 Ferrari 488 GT3 with Marco Cioci and Giancarlo Fisichella. They started from pole at Spa 24 Hours but didn't finish the race.
James Calado in 2017
Victory at Le Mans 24 Hours in 2019
In 2018, Calado started a season with two races in the US, driving the #62 Ferrari 488 GTE for Risi Competizione at Daytona 24h and Sebring 12h. He finished fifth in GTLM class in both races, sharing a car with Toni Vilander and Alessandro Pier Guidi.
Calado and Pier Guidi also stayed together in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo for the FIA WEC super-season. They won at Silverstone and then at Le Mans 24 Hours in June 2019, in the season-closing race of the season. They finished second in the championship standings for GT drivers.
In January 2019, Calado returned to Daytona with Risi Competizione, finishing second in GTLM class.
James Calado with teammates at 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours