MOTOR racing sensation Axcil Jefferies will make his debut in the GP2 Series during the opening round of the 2014 championship in Bahrain starting on Friday after being handed a lifeline by the Italy-based Trident racing team.
The 2014 GP2 Series championship is scheduled to get underway with the opening round at Sakhir International Circuit in Bahrain, to be held in support of the 2014 Formula One (F1) Bahrain Grand Prix taking place from Friday to Sunday.
Jefferies represented Trident during the first pre-season testing at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi last month.
Despite doing well, Jeffries looked set to miss out on the 2014 season after failing to secure the €1 million ($1,29 million) required for him to participate as he has no sponsor at the moment.
However, in a sudden turn of events, Jefferies, who turns 20 on April 14, received an early birthday present after being handed a GP2 Series debut in the 2014 season opener.
“I have been given a great opportunity by the team and will be on the GP2 grid in Bahrain this coming weekend,” Jefferies told our sister paper NewsDay Sport yesterday.
“Effectively they are letting me run on credit in the event something will come through. As a team, they see the value in having the only African in their team and firmly believe by having me compete in the race we could be able to get the attention of the right people.”
The GP2 Series is widely recognised as a gateway to the F1 World Championship as its races are held internationally, mostly in Europe, as support races to F1.
Some past GP2 Series champions have successfully competed in F1.
Jefferies said participating in the GP2 Series was a wonderful opportunity for both himself and the country and he would be using it to improve his skills.
“Of course from a sporting point of view I am over the moon. This is such a great opportunity for me and my country. It’s something I’ve been dreaming of and focusing on for the last two years, so for it to finally become a reality is one of the best feelings.
“I obviously have goals heading into the weekend, but ultimately I aim to learn as much as possible and soak up all the new experiences that are involved in the GP2 Series.
“I’m confident we will get something in place for the full season. I would like to express my gratitude to Trident Motorsport for all they have done to assist in making this happen” Jefferies said.
The 2014 championship opening round in Bahrain will see competitors taking part in practice and qualifying on Friday before the feature races on Saturday and Sunday.
According to the official race programme the feature race, to be held on the Saturday of the F1 Grand Prix weekend, will be over 32 laps or a total of 173,184 kilometres. The 23-lap sprint race follows on Sunday. It will cover 124,476km.
The 2014 GP2 Series features a total of 11 meetings. After Bahrain, the next nine will be held in Europe between May and October, while the season-finale will be back in the Middle East in Abu Dhabi in November.