In possibly the best news of the year so far, it has been announced that racing driver turned gold medal winning Paralympian Alex Zanardi will be soon getting back behind a racing car.
The Italian, who lost both his legs after a horrific Champ Car crash in 2001, will join up ROAL Motorsport in the Blancpain Sprint Series who will be racing a BMW Z4 GT3.
With Zanardi driving a BMW, it keeps up with his recent strong partnership with the brand. The former F1 racer competed in the World Touring Car Championship with BMW machinery between 2005 and 2009.
Alex Zanardi can hardly wait to return to the motorsport scene: “Even after leaving the sport in 2009, I was still a racing driver at heart. When I took to the track in the BMW M3 DTM at the end of 2012, I immediately got itchy fingers again. Ever since that moment I have been toying with the idea of returning to motor racing. I am very pleased I can do this with my old friends at ROAL Motorsport.”
One obstacle that could have been stopping the two time gold winning hand cyclist was the need to adapt the Z4 for use with hand controls. However, the team – which has a successful WTCC concern – easily adapted the machine, which Zanardi will run alone.
“We have adapted the sporting regulations for the Blancpain Sprint Series to allow drivers such as Zanardi to compete alone.
“Therefore, in the races, he will make his pit stop for the mandatory tyre change as usual, but he will remain in the car. If necessary, a minimum pit stop time will be set. Permission to race alone will be given on a case-by-case basis, but we hope it will encourage other drivers in the same condition to consider racing in the Blancpain Sprint Series,” said Series Boss Stephane Ratel.
He continued: “We are delighted that Zanardi has chosen the Blancpain Sprint Series to make his return to top-level motorsport. We have, of course, known him since the days of the Super Racing Weekend multi-series platform, and we are very pleased that he will be part of the ROAL Motorsport team.”