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Zimbabwe's Axcil Jefferies to drive Formula 1 machine

by Collin Matiza
10 Dec 2015 at 04:23hrs | Views
A DREAM COME TRUE . . . Zimbabwe's Axcil Jefferies fulfils his lifelong dream of driving a Formula One machine in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
FORGOTTEN local motor racing ace driver Axcil Jefferies made history this week when he became the first Zimbabwean and African to test in modern day Formula One.

Jefferies, who has largely been pushed into the shade by a number of local motorsport youngsters such as motocross riders Tanya Muzinda, Emmanuel Bako, Jayden Ashwell, Regan Wasmuth, Kuda Mhene (Jnr) and Daiyaan Manuel who have been hogging the limelight on the track of late, was invited by an F1 team to test two different F1 machines and he drove a Jaguar V8 F1 car and Arrows V10 F1 car.

The test was held on Monday at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates where the young Zimbabwean, at 21-years-old, is employed as a senior Race Instructor.

Jefferies is the most qualified race instructor in the Middle East as he is the only person to have driven F1 machines and competed in GP2 which is the current final step to F1.

The team were delighted with Jefferies' driving and adapting to two different machines in one day and the Zimbabwean driver impressed with his speed straight away.

The engineers running the vehicles commented: "We are not surprised by the professionalism and speed of Axcil as he was highly recommended before we contacted him. A big benefit was also the fact that Axcil is familiar with Yas Marina Circuit which is always a benefit."

When contacted yesterday by The Herald in Abu Dhabi, Jefferies was clearly over the moon.

"It has been a lifelong dream for both myself and my family and I'm sure (for) thousands of our fans to experience driving F1. It was an absolutely amazing experience, the power and handling was mind blowing. I adapted straight away and was comfortable at the get go!!

"The team were fantastic and made me feel relaxed which is important to be fast. My father and manager (Suhail) has been working flat out for the past 16 years to make this happen and I am ever grateful to him.

"We are determined to continue making history and putting Africa on the map . . . as the saying goes 'Africa Rising'!!!

"I'm so grateful I got to experience these beasts."

Jefferies started his motorsport career aged six in Zimbabwe and went on to win several national championships both at home and in South Africa before moving to Europe in 2007 and the year 2008 saw him winning races in the European karting championship.

He then contested the Formula BMW Pacific series in 2009 and 2010. He finished third overall in the 2009 season, taking pole position at Sepang and Okayama, and winning two races at Sepang. He completed a limited schedule in 2010, scoring points in the opening two races before failing to qualify for the next four.

In 2012, after not racing for two-and-a half-years, Jefferies returned to action in Formula Two half-way through the season and quickly found his race pace and race craft, finishing consistently in the top 10, with a best of 5th in wet conditions in Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. He finished 12th in points.

Then in 2013, Jefferies made his debut in the American Firestone Indy Lights series with Bryan Herta Autosport at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and finished seventh. He competed again two months later at the Houston race and finished fifth.

In 2014, Jefferies competed in The Indy Lights Mid Ohio Honds 200 event finishing 6th on Saturday and 4th on the Sunday Race.

Jefferies then made his debut in GP2 in Bahrain in the same year, showing strong pace in race one but he was unfortunately punted by Japanese driver Kimya Sato and forced to retire.

And with Saturday's final positions determining Sunday's starting grid, Jefferies had to start from the back of the grid and again put in a solid performance, making up several positions.

Also last year, Jefferies was appointed as a UN AIDS Ambassador for the "Protect The Goal" Aids awareness campaign, racing with UN AIDS livery on his race car and race suit. He serves as a Childline Zimbabwe Goodwill Ambassador.

In 2009, Jefferies was one of the three drivers to win the prestigious Formula BMW scholarships and in 2011 he proved his pedigree again winning an MSA scholarship to study sports performance and science at Loughborough University in the UK. Jefferies' aspiration in life is to make it all the way to Formula 1. It may be a dream but with his dedication, passion and commitment to reach his dream, it is certainly attainable.

Not only is Jefferies dedicated, he is also very marketable and comes across extremely well in all his dealings with the media and other relevant organisations.

Jefferies' management continue to pursue all avenues to see him racing and believe his break is just around the corner.

Source - the herald