Alex Zanardi tests BMW M6 GT3 ahead of return to motorsport
For the first time since bagging a further two gold medals to add to his collection, Alex Zanardi once again found himself back behind the wheel, turning in lap times, as he prepares for his return to motorsport.
The Italian, now 49 and the holder of four gold medals in hand cycling, took the BMW M6 GT3 to the track for the first time at Mugello.
Zanardi is currently preparing to compete in the upcoming Italian GT Championship finale, held at the same circuit. It’ll be the first time he’s raced for over a year. The last time he participated in any form of motorsport was the 2014 Spa 24 Hours, where he shared driving duties in a modified BMW Z4 GT3 with Timo Glock and Bruno Spengler.
The test at Mugello was an opportunity for the veteran racer to acquaint himself with the more recent M6, which operates with the same handheld acceleration and braking system he has used in the past.
Zanardi enjoyed himself, and is looking forward to returning to the sport that he has sacrificed so much.
“That was a first for me in many different ways”, he said. “It was my first time in a race car for more than a year, my first time in Mugello for many years and my first time in the BMW M6 GT3.”
“The outcome of this test was excellent. The car worked well and we were able to fully concentrate on the set-up. The braking mechanism I use worked well and it was relatively easy for me to reach the speed I expected to reach. I’m very happy with the result of the test day.”
“Now we have some work to do with the engineers from BMW Motorsport. We will analyse the data we collected to finalize our preparation for the racing weekend.”
Zanardi’s career in motorsport was originally curtailed after a freak accident at the Lausitzring in 2001 which resulted in him having both of his legs amputated.
Between 2005 and 2008, Zanardi competed in the World Touring Car Championship with BMW before devoting six years of his life to prepare for the London Paralympics.
He returned to racing in 2014, with the help of the German car maker in the Blancpain GT Series, and has continued racing with them to this day.