Zanardi to test BMW M3 DTM at the Nurburgring next month
By Berthold Bouman
Alessandro Zanardi will test a BMW M3 DTM car at the Nurburgring next month, BMW today confirmed. The Italian racing driver, who lost his legs after a horrific accident in the ChampCar series in 2001 at the German Lauzitzring, and won gold at the 2012 Paralympics in London in the men’s road time trial H4, will test the BMW car on November 18.
Zanardi already drove for BMW in the Word Touring Car Championship from 2005 to 2009 in a car modified to allow the use of his prosthetic feet, and in 2006 tested a modified BMW Sauber Formula One car in Valencia, Spain.
Today Zanardi was at the headquarters of the Bavarian BMW company in Munich where, according to a statement issued by BMW, ‘he and the BMW Motorsport engineers went through all the points that need clarifying before this kind of outing — both from a technical point of view and with regard to safety’.
BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said, “We are delighted to offer Alessandro Zanardi this outing in the BMW M3 DTM, he has been a member of the BMW Motorsport family for many years, so we are very keen to offer him this chance to drive the BMW M3 DTM.”
About the car modifications Marquardt said, “We will obviously have to make a few modifications to the car. A DTM car is considerably more complex than the BMW 320si WTCC, with which Alex won on four occasions for us in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. However, our engineers happily accepted this challenge.”
The man himself is obviously looking forward to November 18, and he commented, “I would like to thank Jens Marquardt and all my friends at BMW Motorsport here and now for this unique opportunity. I always feel like coming back to my family when I’m here at BMW Motorsport.
“When I saw the BMW M3 DTM up close for the first time in Hockenheim, I found myself feeling like a racing driver again after all those months as a handcyclist. It is a great honour for any driver to get behind the wheel of such a fantastic car. I will enjoy every lap!”