Former double IndyCar Champion, Grand Prix racer and multiple Paralympic gold medal winner Alex Zanardi has begun a programme aimed at returning the legendary Italian to top level motorsport in 2019.
Since losing both legs in a horrific accident at Lausitzring in 2001, Zanardi has long been associated with the BMW brand in first World Touring Cars and later GT racing, stepping away from full time competition in recent years to make his mark as a top Paralympian, winning multiple gold medals across two different Olympics and even desiging his own racing paracycle, it seems the still popular 51 year old driver isn't quite done with motorsport yet, aiming to debut in the 2019 Rolex Daytona 24 Hour race driving a specially adapted BMW M8 GTE.
“It was his great wish to return to North America for a big race and we want to make that possible, so the fans in Daytona can look forward to an absolute highlight in 2019 with Alex and the BMW M8 GTE.” said BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt.Zanardi gave up full time competition after the closure of BMW's works touring car programme in 2009, stepping aside from a motorsport career that took in top level drives in both Formula One and the then titled Champ Car World Series to concentrate on what was to become a hugely successful Olympic career, however since 2014 the Italian driver has made sporadic returns to motorsport action, most notably with a handful of successes in the Italian GT series last season, however it appears the remarkably popular Italian is now set to return to premier GT racing, working to form a solution to drive for the works BMW outfit at the 2019 running of the Daytona 24 Hour showcase American endurance racing event.
It is unclear if the renewed relationship with the primary works BMW outfit will just be for Daytona 2019, or if the relationship could extend to a possible full season with the squad.
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Zanardi fan? Looking forward to a potential 2019 Daytona debut? At 51 can Zanardi still cut it at the pinnacle of GT racing? Let us know in the comments section below!