Zanardi joins BMW for DTM/Super GT joint race
Alex Zanardi has been announced as the first of BMW's three drivers for the joint-race between the DTM and SUPER GT.
Zanardi made his DTM debut in a guest outing for BMW last year at Misano and took a surprise fifth place finish in a topsy-turvy mixed-weather finale.
While Audi ran MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso as a guest driver at Misano this year, BMW elected not to do so during the campaign.
BMW motorsport boss Jens Marquardt stating at the Nurburgring that the call was due to its struggles during the 2019 DTM season but promised "a good package" for Fuji.
Two-time CART champion Zanardi will again use a specially adapted M4 DTM including a handbrake system and an accelerator ring on the steering wheel, allowing him to drive without his artificial legs.
“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 [compared to the 2018 car]. 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.”
Marquardt added: “Nobody has forgotten Alex Zanardi’s magnificent guest DTM start in Misano in 2018. 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 in Misano and most recently at the 24 Hours of Daytona."
BMW will run three cars at Fuji - competing against four Audis and 15 SUPER GT cars - and will announced its other drivers for the event at a later date.
Prior to Fuji, Zanardi will drive a modified BMW M6 GT3 at the penultimate round of the 2019 Italian GT Championship in Mugello.
In January the 52-year-old took part in the Rolex 24 at Daytona IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener in one of BMW's two works Rahal Letterman Lanigan-run M8 GTEs (pictured below), albeit finishing ninth and last in the GT Le Mans class.
#24 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE, GTLM: Jesse Krohn, John Edwards, Mozzie Mostert, Alex Zanardi
Photo by: Jake Galstad / LAT Images
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