Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi completed a DTM test for BMW at Nürburgring today and the Italian was over the moon.
“I am overjoyed to have been given the opportunity to drive the BMW M3 DTM today,” said Zanardi.
“This is a very special day for me, and one I will always remember fondly. I would like to thank everyone at BMW who has helped make this special moment possible for me.”
Just as when Zanardi raced for BMW in the FIA World Touring Car Championship, handicap modifications were made to the BMW M3 DTM. The Italian operated the accelerator with his left hand on the steering wheel and the brake was moved to the right in order for him to brake with his prosthetic right leg.
“It was a challenge to modify the car to meet my requirements and I am surprised just how quickly the BMW Motorsport engineers managed to complete the necessary modifications. However, the guys have done a great job. I had great fun out on the track. When I first saw the golden car I was overwhelmed. I still have a passion for racing,” said Zanardi.
The Italian ended his racing career after the 2009 season but has not completely ruled out a comeback.
“However, I’m not sure whether our demonstration drive will be anything more than just that, as the level in the DTM may possibly prove to be too high for someone of my age. As such, my main focus is on something completely different after today’s drive: I felt that the BMW family is still behind me and loves me. They showed that once again today,” said Zanardi.
The test was done as an celebration for the 40th anniversary of BMW’s Motorsport department.
“I am delighted we have taken on this adventure successfully with Alessandro Zanardi. For years he has been a valued member of the BMW Motorsport family and is a great role model for us all. Despite his handicap, he approaches every challenge with great optimism and passes every test with flying colors. His medals at the Paralympic Games in London are fine examples of this, as are the four race victories he achieved in the FIA World Touring Car Championship for BMW Motorsport. As we have seen today, the challenge of driving the technically complex BMW M3 DTM also proved to be no obstacle for him,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt.