Many of us Sim Racing addicts, are first of all dedicated Motorsport fans, and at one point many will have shared the dream of becoming a real world racing driver. However, we all realize that in reality this dream will only become reality for a few chosen ones. We all know that money opens doors within our favourite sport. So without money it is far from easy to get to the point where talent and skill will grant you an opportunity into the world of racing.
This brings us to the real interesting part of this story. Many of the Bsim regulars will undoubtably know the name Atze Kerkhof. As an avid Sim racer, Atze climbed up the Sim racing ladder to become a member of Team Redline, who are probably the most famous Sim Racing Team to date. Atze always loved sport and competition. So at a young age he started speed skating, and got as far as the national selection. Many injuries forced him to give up the sport in 2009. Being a competitive personality, during this period Atze got infected with the Sim Racing virus.
“I missed the thrill of skating. The competitive element always appealed to me, and I got that in the races in the simulations. The level is very high, so it became a big challenge to perform at that level.”
Atze started his virtual competition on the rFactor, and later on SimRaceway platform, but things got more serious when he moved up to the iRacing Simulation. Becoming a member of the renowned Team Redline he got initiated into Sim racing competition on a pro level. Atze has shown his commitment and skill, leading to a 2nd place in the iRacing Formula 1 World Championship 2013. Not an easy task considering the high competition level in that series. Hugo Luis, Greger Huttu, Max Dell ‘Orco, Mogar Filho and Andre Boettcher to name a few.
As a Team Redline member Atze met New Zealand´s former Lotus F1 Development Driver Richie Stanaway who was recovering from a broken back injury and started sim racing with Team Redline to keep his racing spirit in shape. The 26 year old Atze Kerkhof works as a personal trainer, and therefore started helping Richie out with training programs to get him race-fit again. Richie Stanaway had won the 2011 German Formula 3 championship with the Dutch Van Amersfoort Racing Team, and introduced Atze to Team Director Frits van Amersfoort and promoted Kerkhof’s online racing talent . Soon after, Atze had his first meeting talking about the opportunity to drive a real F3 car during a test session.
On December 12th, Atze Kerkhof had a first taste of his dream. Van Amersfoort Racing Team invited him to drive a German Formula 3 car at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona in Spain. Atze explains.
“The first thing that struck me, or rather surprised me, was the physical aspect. While I’m very used to physical demands, after my first 10 laps I was broken.Nothing prepared me for the forces that are experienced in the car. Yet, as the day progressed, the more I got the feeling that I knew from the racing sim, it was becoming easier.”
One week later Atze Kerkhof received the wonderful news that there was a free race seat for him in the German Formula 3 2014. As we all know, there is of course one major condition. ” Sponsorchip” . So now the biggest quest of the motor sport career of Atze has started. The €400.000 budget he has to find is not insignificant, but Atze is optimistic.
“I expect my story to be very attractive because of the unquestioned opportunities for sponsors to inspire millions of fans who are in the living room like I was.”
The Sim racing community can be proud of Atze for proving that our beloved hobby is more then ” make believe” and that the competitive and race craft skills obtained while Sim Racing can be beneficial in a real world racing environment. The bsimracing.com community wishes Atze all the success possible and we will be following up ” Atze Kerkhof´s road to the track”
|Official Webpage – http://www.atzekerkhof.nl/ – http://www.vanamersfoortracing.nl/