Following the 2001 CART Indy automotive accident that price him his legs, Zanardi has turn out to be synonymous with BMW, the model adapting racecars to swimsuit his much less typical calls for with prosthetic limbs.
He scored 4 wins within the World Touring Automobile Championship earlier than retiring on the finish of 2009 to concentrate on his efforts within the Paralympics. This effort paid off in magnificent model, as within the 2012 [London] and 2016 [Rio de Janeiro] Video games, he accrued a complete of 4 gold medals and two silvers.
In between these two Paralympics, Zanardi returned to racing, driving BMW Z4 within the Blancpain Collection in 2014, scoring a greatest results of fifth.
Electing to ditch the bogus legs for racing, final yr Zanardi tried a hand-operated braking system whereas piloting a BMW M4 for a DTM one-off at Misano wherein he completed fifth.
This method has been custom-made to his style and modified for the BMW M8 sportscar, enabling the two-time Indy automotive champion to participate on this month’s Rolex 24 within the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing squad for his first race in America for the reason that accident.
Though Zanardi was sometimes round eight-tenths off his quickest teammates in final week’s take a look at, the Roar Earlier than the Rolex 24, workforce proprietor Bobby Rahal stated there was no level in studying a lot into his lap instances.
“The Roar is helpful,” he instructed Motorsport.com, “but it surely’s simple to get caught up in the entire thing about laptimes. It’s about getting bedded in and getting the automotive proper as a result of after we come again in a few weeks, now we have so little time earlier than the race begins on the Saturday.
“The Roar is about working towards driver modifications, doing lengthy runs, understanding what’s the quickest technique to do a stint with out burning off the tires, and so forth.”
Requested if Zanardi was pulling his weight inside the workforce fairly than simply conducting the race as a private problem, Rahal replied: “Alex is making himself integral to the workforce.
“I’m actually honored and we’re all excited at RLL to have Alex onboard. We’re very appreciative of BMW placing him in with us as a result of it’s a hell of a narrative, he’s a hell of an excellent man and most significantly an excellent man. We’re thrilled.
“However it’s greater than that, for certain. Have a look at Alex in that one-off DTM race – the man can drive!
“So I feel for him the take a look at was about studying the brake system, studying the M8 and studying the monitor, he was simply being a little bit bit cautious, being good. I’m certain if we’d stated to Alex, ‘Hey, we’d like you to go do a qualifying sim[ulation], he’d have been proper there with the others.
“However that’s not what it’s about in a 24 hour race. It’s way more essential to get the automotive to the place it may ship over an entire stint, and Alex is sensible sufficient to do this.”
Reward for Mostert, Herta
Colton Herta, son of Rahal’s former teammate Bryan Herta and Indy Lights ace of the previous two years will share the #25 BMW M8 at Daytona with Tom Blomqvist, Philipp Eng and Connor De Phillippi.
Requested how the teen was adapting to driving a big coupe, Rahal stated: “To be truthful, he didn’t have that a lot time on monitor final week. However after we first examined him he did an excellent job.
“As I’m certain he discovered, testing is one factor, being on the market working towards amongst all these totally different automobiles is one other story. However he’s fairly good, clearly we’re going to advise him that this isn’t a 100-mile Indy Lights race – he’s going to be on the market for some time in every stint, and it’s about constant lap instances and staying out of hassle. He’ll be tremendous.”
Rahal was effusive in his reward of Supercars ace Chaz Mostert, who raced for the workforce in final season’s finale, Petit Le Mans.
“Let me let you know, that man is a stud!” stated Rahal. “I actually like him, for one factor – tremendous man, tremendous persona. And his efficiency within the automotive is fairly particular.
“He joined us at Highway Atlanta – a troublesome monitor, and one he’d by no means seen. It’s fairly busy as soon as the race begins as a result of there are loads of automobiles on fairly a brief course. It’s dangerous.
“However I’ve gotta say, throughout the workforce, we have been so impressed together with his velocity and his judgment, and in addition the best way he interacted with the workforce when it got here time to debrief within the trailer. I’ve loads of time for him.”