Alex Zanardi Looking for Daytona Debut in 2019

Paul Jeffrey

Alex Zanardi Daytona Debut 2019 2.jpg

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.

Alex Zanardi Daytona Debut 2019 3.jpg
Alex Zanardi Daytona Debut 2019.jpg

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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!
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I'm a huge Zanardi fan, would be delighted for him if he could get a couple of seasons racing in GT.
His fitness will certainly stand him in good stead and there is no question over his grit and dtermination.
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In a sport where a man child from Stevenage walks around with stupid bling and fake American accent.....this guy is a true God....... wonderful wonderful man and is such a humble guy....
A true hero in every sense of the word. To come back from what happened and show such determination and skill in achieving everything he has so far is the clearest proof of believing in yourself and just never giving up.

There's an awesome documentary of his effort with BMW and the Spa 24 some years ago which I recommend to anyone.

I was hoping that maybe he might take a stab at doing that one again but Daytona is also a good choice.

BMW came up with an ingenious system to allow him and the other drivers to share the car. I assume it will be roughly the same as it worked well.
great, so much respect to Zanardi and BMW (Mr. J. Marquardt). Thx for the possibility to see Alex. racing in Daytona like he fought in a Z4 in 24h Spa with the good boys Glock and Spengler
And I will be there to support him come Daytona 2019. I was there at the Spa 24 in 2015 when he raced the Z4, was amazing to see him in person, yes like seeing a true God.

I think the thing that I admire is before and after the accident he has absolutely zero ego. I've never met him but he seems to have so much time for the fans and to chat to people. For sure he's 100% focused but that attitude is quite rare today with any athelete.

I always felt a little sorry he didn't get the break in F1 he deserved but some of his races in CART and the WTCC are some of the best races I've every seen.

James Nance

I like Race cars?
Yeah I totally agree, was the same when I watched the sports with Bryant Gumbel documentary, where he featured Zanardi, just an amazing guy and human being, definitely an inspiration.
I always wondered how was Zanardi allowed to make his comeback, did he have to argue with doctors, insurers, the FIA and his friends and family in order to return to racing following his 2001 CART crash?
He is a Hero!
I saw him driving his last 13 laps in 2003 on Lausitzring. 10000th people on the grandstand stud up and all had tears in their eyes. What a moment!