Alex Zanardi is set to make his endurance racing debut, having completed a successful shakedown of a specially modified BMW Z4 GT3 ahead of this weekend’s Blancpain Endurance Series 1000 at Paul Ricard.
The 48-year-old Italian, who lost both of his legs in a Champ Car crash in 2001, will share the wheel of a car for the first time, teaming with fellow BMW factory drivers Bruno Spengler and Timo Glock in a ROAL Motorsport-prepared Z4 GT3.
All three were on hand this week at Adria International Raceway in Italy, not only to prepare for Paul Ricard, but also for next month’s Total 24 Hours of Spa.
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“I am really satisfied with this roll-out,” Zanardi said. “The engineers at BMW Motorsport are doing a great job. When I drive the car I feel very much home in it, at least as much as I felt last year when I was racing in the Blancpain Sprint Series.
“The modifications we have made are already quite efficient and meet my personal needs very well. For sure we still have some work to do, but we know exactly where we need to do some more adjustments. So overall, all is going according to plan and how we had hoped for.”
A number of modifications have been developed for the effort, including a special steering wheel and modifications to the pedal box and clutch.
Zanardi said he quickly felt at home and is excited about the unique opportunity ahead.
“It is also great fun to work with Bruno and Timo,” he said. “They are not only fantastic racing drivers – we also get on very well on a personal level.
“And we all, us drivers as well as everyone at BMW Motorsport and ROAL Motorsport, share the same dedication and enthusiasm for the project.”