BMW Motorsport has confirmed that two-time CART champion Alex Zanardi will occupy one of its three driver slots for November’s SUPER GT x DTM Dream Race at the Fuji Speedway.
Zanardi made his first guest appearance in the DTM Series at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in 2018 in an adapted M4 DTM car that incorporated hand controls for the four-time Paralympic gold medallist, scoring a stellar fifth place in a weather-affected Race 2.
The 52-year-old was not recalled for the ’19 round at Misano by BMW, despite Audi Sport choosing to invite MotoGP ace Andrea Dovizioso.
Zanardi’s team-mate are yet to be confirmed by BMW, with the group’s motorsport director Jens Marquardt coy on an announcement date.
Marquardt said that Zanardi’s Misano cameo has lived long in the memory and is relishing the chance to see the Italian back in DTM machinery.
“Nobody has forgotten Alex Zanardi’s magnificent guest DTM start at Misano in 2018,” Marquardt said.
“As such, we are delighted that he will now be returning to the wheel of the BMW M4 DTM as part of our dream team for Fuji.
“Alex inspires people all over the world and it is fantastic to have him on board in Japan. We are confident that he will cause just as much of a buzz as he did at Misano and most recently at the 24 Hours of Daytona.
“We will reveal the drivers to complete our trio at Fuji at a later date.”
Zanardi spoke of his joy in returning to the series, saying that the ability to continue his racing career is “like a gift” to him.
While not confident in a repeat of his fifth place, he said that his main objective is to enjoy the historic event and please a hopefully capacity crowd.
Fuji will also play host to the paracycling events at the 2020 Paralympic Games, primarily held in Tokyo, a competition that Zanardi will look to qualify for in the coming months.
“To compete in the Dream Race with the DTM and SUPER GT is something wonderful for me,” said Zanardi.
“The word ‘wonderful’ is probably used too often, but it is really appropriate in this case. The mere fact that I am still able to go racing is like a gift for me anyway.
“However, the BMW M4 DTM is definitely one of the best race cars I have driven in my career. Plus, I will have an extra 100 hp under the bonnet this year.
“It is going to be fantastic, and I am extremely grateful to BMW Motorsport for this opportunity. I know that racing in the DTM is a huge challenge, as all the drivers are highly-professional and excellently prepared.
And this time we will also have the drivers from SUPER GT too. As such, my expectations are not too great, from a sporting perspective.
“I just want to perform to the best of my ability and put on a display worthy of the event.
“On the whole, however, I am sure that this is going to be another great chapter in my motor racing career.”