Alex Zanardi will make his DTM debut as a guest entry for BMW later this year in a one-off appearance at Misano in a specially adapted BMW M4 DTM. 

The 51-year-old Italian, a two-time CART champion and Paralympic gold medalist, lost both of his legs in a horrific CART crash at the Lausitzring in 2001. 

Zanardi contested the European and World Touring Car Championship in an adapted BMW touring car between 2004 and 2009, before switching his attentions to hand cycling, winning two golds and one silver at the London 2012 Olympics and a further two gold medals in Rio in 2016. 

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He had taken a year out of motorsport following the 2015 Spa 24 Hours but returned to winning ways in the 2016 Italian GT Championship finale at Mugello in late 2016. Zanardi is set to contest his home round in Italy on August 25-26, having previously tested BMW DTM machinery in 2012. 

“I feel like a kid in a candy store and massively look forward to racing the BMW M4 DTM at Misano,” Zanardi said. “As a motor-racing enthusiast I had planned to definitely make the trip to Misano and attend the first DTM night races in the history of the sport. But to now be in the cockpit and contest the races myself is just fantastic.”

ITR chairman and ex-Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger believes Zanardi’s appearance will provide a boost to the series. 

“We are really delighted with having the chance of welcoming such a famous guest driver on the DTM grid, at Misano,” he said. “Alex Zanardi is extremely popular – and not only in his home country Italy. 

“His extraordinarily impressive performances as athlete, his imperturbable optimism and his humanity stick out far beyond the sport and already inspired millions all over the world.” 

“Alex never displays a half-hearted approach – far from it,” he added. “As we know him, he also will prepare highly professionally and with maximum ambition for his DTM guest appearance to deliver in great style, in front of his home crowd. Welcome in DTM, dear Alex!”

 

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