Alexander Graff is one of the more experienced drivers in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. In the EuroNASCAR Esports Series he is a total rookie. At the season opener at Brands Hatch he had more problems to deal with than just his lack of experience in sim racing.
In the prologue at Daytona International Speedway Alexander Graff in the #77was the only driver competing for Memphis Racing. For the season opener at Brands Hatch his fellow countryman Gustav Berggren joined Memphis Racing in the #277.
“I was in the test at Daytona, but I set the rig and the account together the week before. Brands Hatch was the first race for us, I don’t know for how long Gustav has played iRacing, he had been playing this before ENES started, but for me it’s the first real race”, Alexander Graff said in an interview with Threewide.
In the first heat Graff just missed the Top 10, and therefore the direct qualification for the final heat, with P11. In the Last Chance Qualifier-heat the best 6 drivers qualify themselves for the final heat. In the beginning, it went well for Graff. He was 4th, just behind his former teammate Henri Tuomaala. Due to some problems, he crossed the finish line on P8. “So it’s hard, it’s really, really hard! I have a really good rig from my sponsor EPS, Elite Performance Sweden. There are so many parameters you can adjust, so from the test to the quali yesterday I was still changing things in the rig and in my driving view. Right there in the race, I was doing the best I ever have done in the simulator. So I was so disappointed that my race was ruined and that I did a mistake that took out some others. I’m truly sorry for that!” While Mark Werrell assumed that Graff might have had problems with his tires, the situation was slightly different. His girlfriend wanted to film the race. In order to have some sound, she unplugged his earphones. She did not take into account that Graff wouldn’t hear a thing and would get into trouble on track.
So it was up to Graff’s teammate Berggren in the #277 to earn some points for Memphis Racing in the championship. With P4 in the Last Chance Qualifier he qualified himself for the final heat. In the end he finished on P27 with one lap down.
In contrast to some of his colleagues, Graff does not have the possibility to spend more time with training in the simulator. “I have not enough practice, because I have too much work. In these times around the world with a own family business we need to get the job done, so we can have our company and pay for everyone. And first of all stay safe!”
His anwer to the question whether it is easier for a sim racer to change to a real race car or for a real racer to adapt to sim racing, he had a very clear opinion. “I think it’s better to go from Sim to reality than the opposite. For me I’m trying and I think I can go in with more speed, brake later and padel earlier, but okey, it’s almost double the power in this thing.”
Nevertheless, Graff is happy that the EuroNASCAR has established the ENES. “My impression is that the NWES has done an amazing job, to put this together in so short time! And it’s so good to be back with all friend, but we miss all fans, friends and families in the paddock. We, me and Memphis racing, would like to send a big thank you to everyone in the ENES family that have put this together! It’s amazing and I hope it will help all the fans to be a little bit more patient til we start our real engines!”
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