The mechanics work on the car and the driver drives it: That’s how the tasks are usually distributed in a race team – But Jeffrey Roeffen knows both sides of racing very well, since he has been active as a mechanic and driver for a long time
Many Autospeedway enthusiasts know Jeffrey Roeffen as a National Hotrods the driver, a series that regularly provide exciting races on the small ovals in the Netherlands. The Dutchman from Grubbenvorst also works as a mechanic for Hendriks Motorsport in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) and currently also competes for the team in the EuroNASCAR Esports Series (ENES), in what he is one of the best sim racers on the grid.
But Roeffen’s story begins much earlier, because his love of motorsport already developed during his childhood. “I started karting in 2009, together with my father,” the 19-year-old told ‘Leadlap.net’. “But we had to stop in 2012. Since 2012 I have been working as a mechanic for Roeffen Racing and in 2017 I did the first race for the team in the National Hotrods. One year before I started working for Hendriks Motorsport as a mechanic.”
First race in the family-run team
The reason to start his career in the National Hotrods was a very simple one for Roeffen: because of his work for the family-run team he got the chance to prove himself in this class. “Two of my uncles start in the series and it’s obviously a lot of fun to beat them,” said the youngster.
Over the years, Roeffen has become a real force in the Autospeedway series. He has already won several races at the wheel of his #430 AutoXross Motorsport Service BMW and is also regularly quite high up in the overall standings. His greatest personal success to date is the second place in the 2019 SuperCup of the series at Raceway Venray.
“At that time I was racing with a new chassis that we built in just three months,” Roeffen remembered. “To make this happen, we had to work hard and keep up several nights without much sleep. In the SuperCup itself we messed up the setup a bit. That was the only mistake I wasn’t happy about. Of course I thank my numerous sponsors like Sasa K9 Security, Beasy, Camping Californie, Longhorn and SRD Race Engines.”
Sim racing with Hendriks Motorsport
Due to the coronavirus crisis, the Dutchman is currently not thinking about real racing. Even as a mechanic there is currently little to do for Roeffen in the NWES, which is why Hendriks Motorsport is using him in the virtual world as a sim racer. In the ENES, the 19-year-old drives the #307 Ford Mustang and so far Roeffen has showed great potential in the iRacing based championship.
At the prologue at the virtual Daytona International Speedway the enthusiastic sim racer finished third in the main race. At the first round of the championship, an important top-10 result followed with an eighth place. In virtual Watkins Glen, Roeffen finished fourth after a thrilling fight against EuroNASCAR 2 champion Lasse Soerensen and EuroNASCAR PRO champion Loris Hezemans.
He is thrilled about his participation in the first ENES in the history of the European NASCAR series: “It is great to have the opportunity to compete against these stars! I thank Orion and Hendriks Motorsport for this chance. Normally I stand at the pit wall and watch them race, but now I get to compete directly against them. I can compare how good my pace is. My goal is to finish in the top-5 in the championship.”
Sim racing as practice for the real world
Roeffen is active in sim racing since 2014. Back then, the Dutchman couldn’t drive himself in the real world, so he used the simulations to keep on racing. “When I started racing with the National Hotrods, I considered it as an extra practice,” he added. “When I have ideas for a setup for my car, I always test it on iRacing first. Seeing how it works there makes it a lot easier at the real track.”
The Dutchman lives for racing, as a racer, sim racer and as a mechanic in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. Until the real racing starts again, the 19-year-old will continue to fight for points in the ENES for Hendriks Motorsport. His performance in the virtual world could ultimately have a major impact, as the overall ENES standings will have an influence on the real 2020 NWES team classification.