Zanardi to contest endurance races

   Alex Zanardi will take part in a long-distance race for the first time since losing his legs with two outings in the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series. The BMW factory driver, who recovered from the loss of his legs at the Lausitz CART event in 2001 to race again with prosthetic limbs, will drive one of the German manufacturer’s Z4 GT3s in the blue-riband Spa 24 Hours BES round at the end of July and, by way of preparation, the 1000km event at Paul Ricard in June.
Alex Zanardi
Alex Zanardi

The deal means that Zanardi will be sharing a racing car for the first time since sustaining his injuries, although his team-mates and the identity of the squad that will run him have yet to be announced.

Zanardi, 48, said: “I have been dreaming of racing in an endurance classic like this for a long time, and it is great that BMW Motorsport and Jens Marquardt [its boss] are turning this dream into a reality.

“It seems impossible that a guy with no legs like me can compete together with ‘normal’ drivers in such a highly-competitive, tough and prestigious event, but I know that my friends at BMW Motorsport have all the technical expertise and innovative ideas to master this challenge.”

Marquardt described the assault on the 24 Hours as the “next milestone” in Zanardi’s relationship with BMW.

alex-zanardi- Blancpain

Zanardi competed in the six of the seven Blancpain Sprint Series rounds last year with a ROAL-run Z4, but has scaled back his motor racing activities to concentrate on paracycling ahead of his return to the Paralympics in Rio di Janeiro in 2016.

Last year’s BSS assault, which was made possible by a change in the rules that allowed him to drive alone in the one-hour races, followed a four-season absence from the cockpit.He undertook full seasons with the factory Ravaglia/ROAL BMW squad in the European Touring Car Championship and then the World Touring Car Championship in 2004-09, after making a comeback from his injuries in the final ETCC round of the ’03 season.

… Alex Zanardi last contested an endurance race? He finished fourth overall and first in class in the Silverstone round of the Global Endurance GT Series in 1995 at the wheel of a works-run Lotus Esprit Sport 300 shared with Alex Portman.

Originally posted on: AUTOSPORT

Republished by:Racer