You can buy Alex Zanardi’s BMW 320i WTCC race car from 2005
The BMW that Alessandro Zanardi claimed his first first FIA World Touring Car Championship victory with is currently up for sale.
The Italian drove for ROAL Motorsport BMW Team Italy-Spain in the WTCC during the 2005 season after one season in the ETCC the year before.
Zanardi won the second race of the race weekend at Oschersleben in 2005, beating fellow BMW drivers Andy Priaulx and Jörg Müller.
“It is difficult to find the right words,” said Zanardi after the race.
“I had such a nice career and whenever a driver comes to an end of their career the young people think that he should retire. But because people felt pity for me, that sentiment was not as strong about me. I had those thoughts too but I’m so glad my day finally came.”
The BMW was specially modified by BMW Motorsport in order for him to drive the car with his handicap.
A ring on the steering wheel was used for the accelerator, a button for the clutch on the gear lever, while he operated the brakes via his artificial leg.
“At first, I thought that I would have to do everything with my hands,” said Zanardi, after testing the system for the first time in 2003.
“With the first system, I was braking with a ring on the steering wheel. I used another ring to accelerate and operated the H-gearbox with my right hand. My fingers operated the clutch, via a button on the gear lever. I was basically steering using just the ball of my thumbs.”
“That was definitely too much. When I came back to the garage after the first test, I said to the guys: ‘I have so much to do, I am turning with my arms and hands – but if you could put a little brush between my legs too, then I could also sweep the cockpit.”
Zanardi then suggested a change of the system for him to use his artificial leg to operate the brakes.
“The engineers were a little skeptical, but I was sure that I could apply enough force to the brake pedal if my artificial leg was attached to it and I could use my hips to apply downward pressure,” said Zanardi.
“All we had to do was to develop a brake pedal to which my artificial leg could be permanently attached. That proved to be a very efficient solution. I noticed in the very first test that I could not only apply the necessary pressure, but was surprised by how well I could control the pressure and feel the brake pedal.”
The car was sold by the ROAL team in 2006 and was reverted back to its original specification without the handicap system.
The car was raced in a European hill-climb series by a private team during the following years.
The car was bought back by ROAL in 2010 and was then completely restored. Following a couple hill-climb events and BMW anniversary races in 2011, the car has not been used.
The price of the car is 185,000€ (incl. VAT) and a separate optional extensive spares package is available, head to www.rmd.be for more information.