Source: CART Online Zanardi Receives Automobile Honor PPG Cup champion Alex Zanardi (Target Reynard Honda) last week became the first racing driver to be honored with Automobile Magazine's Man of the Year award...
Source: CART Online Zanardi Receives Automobile Honor
PPG Cup champion Alex Zanardi (Target Reynard Honda) last week became the first racing driver to be honored with Automobile Magazine's Man of the Year award in the award's nine-year history. Zanardi was chosen by a panel of 18 Automobile editors. Zanardi was chosen for his impact on the automotive community during the 1997 PPG Cup season, when he led the series with five victories and four pole positions, joining Jacques Villeneuve (1994-95) as the only drivers in Championship Auto Racing Teams history to win Rookie of the Year honors followed by the PPG Cup in their first two years in the series. "It wasn't so much Alex Zanardi's victory in the 1997 PPG Cup that made him the overwhelming choice for Man of the Year among Automobile Magazine's editors as the way in which he won it." said Mark Gilles, executive editor of Automobile. "On the Sunday afternoons when we settled onto our couches and switched on the TV to watch a CART race, we knew that something really good, something unexpected, was about to happen. And the catalyst for much of that excitement was 31-year-old Alessandro Zanardi."
Previous winners of the award have included such industry notables as Jurgen Hubdert, chairman of the passenger car division of Mercedes Benz; Bernd Pischetsrieder, chairman of BMW and Richard Perry Jones, group vice president for product development, Ford Automotive Operations. "It is certainly a surprise and honor to receive this award from Automobile Magazine," said Zanardi. "I have always loved motor racing and worked very hard to achieve my goals. For such an authority in automobiles to recognize me and my skills makes my job all the better." Zanardi capped a week of honors at Saturday's annual American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association banquet in Long Beach, Calif., where he was named one of 12 first-team All-Americans. PacWest Racing Group driver Mark Blundell (Motorola Pac West Mercedes) earned second-team honors while Team KOOL Green's Paul Tracy (KOOL Reynard Honda) earned honorable mention for last year's performance with Marlboro Team Penske.