By Mariano López V.
While his classmates dedicated entire recesses to the ever-popular ‘fulbito’, a young and carefree Francisco Calle he fantasized about his future. There was no shortage of long tracks, zigzagging circuits, great races, glittering trophies, heavy helmets and the car of his dreams – then far away – the legendary Toyota Trueno AE86. In a short time, Francisco saw the unexpected come true: he saved, bought the famous Toyota and today, after winning “The Peruvian 6 Hours” at just 20 years old, he has become one of the great promises of national motorsport.
Motorsport is not a sport that enjoys prominence in Peru. How did you get involved in it?
I understand that it is not something frequent, but cars have always been to my liking. We could say that it all started when I bought my own car. In less than a week, a friend of my dad’s convinced me to enter my first competition. I felt like I had potential, because I had driven karts, however I didn’t think I was racing that fast. It was complicated.
And how did it go?
Every time I have to compete I realize why I chose this sport. I got hooked. It’s true, at first it didn’t go well for me. It was quite slow. I just improved in my second competition, where I lost 10-20 seconds of my time.
Then I guess everything was on the rise …
There was a very important factor: my relationship with Piero Polar (professional pilot and workshop manager of MT Automotriz). I met him before “being on the map.” He always supported me, gave me advice. He emphasized my technique. When I started to improve my results by a big margin, he asked me if I was interested in being a pilot in “Las 6 Horas Peruanas”. I accepted and although there were difficulties in training, on race day everything went well.
You are also studying at the university. How do you go about balancing both responsibilities?
Balancing the two lives has not been easy. My routine, more than anything else, is based on study. There are few times that I can practice with the car. When there is competition, I do go to the circuit and spend the whole morning and afternoon there. My dad has made sure I don’t neglect my studies.
What is your next goal?
I want to compete in more races and in other categories. If possible, abroad. There are more circuits there, which is positive. The more experience you have on circuits, the better driver you will be.
Do you feel like there is enough support for motorsports? Do companies care about being sponsors?
MT has helped me. Apart from them, nothing. I keep looking for sponsors to compete at the top. I know Toyota is willing to help drivers and promote their cars through programs, but they are few.
What do you attribute this lack of interest to?
What happens is that many people do not feel this sport.
Your mentors. “I have a lot of respect for Paolo ‘Chubi’ Zani already Ricardo Dasso. They have helped me to evolve ”.
The key to success. “The trick is to be consistent. Compete again and again, stand firm. This is how it improves ”.