Zimbabwe daredevil Jefferies takes international motor racing circuit on
By Robson Sharuko
HARARE – Zimbabwe motor racing ace Axcil Jefferies hasn’t ruled out making the big breakthrough into the glitzy fast lane of Formula One racing and testing himself against the very best when it comes to the sport – the likes of British driver Lewis Hamilton and his German rival Sebastian Vettel.
But the 22-year-old Jefferies insists he is not under any pressure to make the huge leap and is, in fact, at peace with himself making his name in GT Racing where he is making waves.
Jefferies optimising his stay in the United Arab Emirates where opportunities to become a success story in his chosen field continue to open in the middle east and on the European circuit.
He believes his career is “moving in the right direction”. While his childhood dream was to crack into Formula One, he has, for now, resolved to making a successful career in GT Racing.
“Obviously, growing up, Formula One has always been the goal and that’s what we always want to do,’’ he told RPM TV in an interview at the Dubai Aerodrome.
‘’I’m still young but GT Racing is equally an amazing opportunity, so many championships now and you can make a career in it and I will take whatever comes.
‘’I’m really happy at the moment.’’
Of course, who wouldn’t?
After all, Jefferies believes he is now a better driver than when he first arrived to settle in the UAE and describes his adventure into GDL Racing as something that has been “an absolute success.’’
“We are moving in the right direction. I think it’s been an absolute success, lots of cars on the grid, high quality drivers.
‘’As a team we just been very strong.’’
When you win Monza, in whatever event in car racing, the world gets to notice and that’s what Jefferies did recently after they, together with Dutchman Rik Breukers, conquered the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Middle East series.
Breukers is just 18-year-old and Jefferies, is still a very young driver and the duo has been showing the kind of potential that makes success stories in their chosen field.
The Monza race was the first stage of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo European series. Jefferies believes that success in Monza was the highlight of his latest adventure and the duo impressed at Silverstone in the United Kingdom where they claimed another podium finish with the racing star impressed by the support he received by many Zimbabweans who cheered him on there.
“Was amazing to see so many fans at Silverstone…flags around the grandstands and so many wearing Team AJ Tshirts….thanks guys #OneLove #OneGoal #Lamborghini,’’ Jefferies tweeted after the race.
“8 podiums in a row!!!! 6 wins, 1 2nd, 1 3rd in the Pro Class…Thanks to GDL Racing Gianluca De Lorenzi Rik Breukers #StriveForExcellence.’’
Jefferies also raced in his maiden 24hrs in France earlier this month, where he finished fourth, which he said was an incredible success given the technical issues that haunted them in lap one of the race.
“What an amazing and emotional experience it has been competing in my first 24hrs Race. 4th Overall is incredible considering the electronic issues we had on lap One,’’ he said.
“Credit goes to the Amazing team of Engineers and Mechanics in GPXTREME and my team mates; Anthony Beltoise, Pierre Brice Mena, Jean Pierre Valentini and Bassam Kronfli who all drove a fantastic race without putting a foot wrong all weekend.”
But who is Axcil Jefferies who, at the age of 22, is already a UN goodwill ambassador, an inspiration for millions of his countrymen back home and who has managed, in a short period, managed to transform himself from a karting champion into such a top driver on the international circuit whom some believe could even make the Formula One circuit?
How did he find himself in the UAE which has been his base in the past few years and which he is now using as a perfect springboard to write his success story that is making a number of important people in the racing world take notice?
How has he managed 22 pole positions, 31 victories, 52 podium finishes in his young career that his fans believe could even go the distance, ending with him negotiating the fast lane of Formula One?
“Axcil Jefferies is an elite professional racing driver from Zimbabwe,” his personal website tells those who visit it. “As a four-time national karting champion Axcil was awarded one of three coveted Formula BMW scholarships, after successfully competing in the Formula BMW Pacific Championship, as a regular race winner, Axcil obtained media and expert recognition through awards like ‘Driver’s Driver,’ ‘Star Driver of the Future’ and ‘Sportsman of the Year.’
“Axcil progressed into the FIA Formula Two Championship in 2012 before making the penultimate step into the GP2 Series (Formula 1 feeder series).
“As well as receiving numerous accolades on track, Axcil also carries out numerous Ambassadorial roles such as UN Aids Global Sporting Ambassador, FIA Ambassador for Road Safety in Africa and Goodwill Childline Ambassador.
“After receiving a call up from UAE based team GPXTREME to drive one of their Renault GT3 RS01, Axcil set about to reward the team with his best possible performance. He spent the prior two weeks working twice as hard in the gym and on the Simulator to be 100% prepared. Indeed the hard work paid off as he hit the ground running in first practice consistently being one of the fastest drivers on track. GPXTREME were pleased and rewarded Axcil as the driver to qualify for the #28 Renault RS01.
“Axcil did not disappoint and qualified 4th overall to set up a good challenge against the seasoned Pro Class drivers as 5 minutes prior to qualifying the #28 car was moved up from Pro AM to the Pro Class.’’
Those who know Jefferies very well believe his fiery determination and raw talent can only mean one thing – an eventual splash into the world of Formula One.