Living legend Alex Zanardi confirmed today that he will be getting behind the wheel of a BMW M4 DTM as a special guest at the upcoming DTM race which will be hosted by the Misano circuit in Italy. Scheduled to take place in August, the Misano race will be held between August 25 and August 26, at night, this being a premiere for the German competition. This venue will also allow Zanardi to prepare for next year’s Daytona 24-hour race.
The DTM umbrella organisation, the ITR, as well as the two other manufacturers involved in the DTM, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, have given the green-light for this guest start. The BMW M Motorsport engineers, who have worked with Zanardi in the past, are currently collaborating with him on the development of a system to modify the BMW M4 DTM to suit his needs. The DTM race appearance at Misano is another step on the way to Daytona (USA), where the Italian will contest the legendary 24-hour race in January 2019.
Zanardi’s preparation for his guest start gets underway this weekend (1st to 3rd June), when he will accompany the BMW DTM teams and drivers at the Hungaroring near Budapest (HUN), to familiarize himself with the details of procedures, structures and processes in the DTM. A roll-out and test drives are additional steps planned for the coming weeks. Dates and locations will be announced at a later date. In addition, with regard to the technical feasibility, BMW Motorsport is working closely with the DMSB, who supports the project.
The BMW works driver and brand ambassador has already visited numerous DTM events and has also been behind the wheel of a BMW DTM race car many times. In recognition of winning two gold medals at the Paralympic Games in London (GBR), Zanardi completed a sensational test in a modified BMW M3 DTM at the Nürburgring (GER) in 2012. At the 2015 DTM season finale at Hockenheim (GER), he was at the wheel of the BMW M4 DTM race taxi. However, starting a DTM race is a first for Zanardi.
“I am incredibly excited about racing the BMW M4 DTM at Misano because I always dreamed of adding the DTM experience into my ‘book of best moments’ in my motorsport career. DTM has for many years been one of the motorsport disciplines that are the pinnacles of racing regarding technology, the speed of the car and the level of the competition, which these days is higher than ever. The skills of the drivers competing in DTM and the preparation of the teams are, in my view, as good as in Formula One,” said Zanardi about the upcoming challenge.
“They are top of the game and you can’t get any better than that. And on the other hand that is what concerns me and will make me to approach this challenge with a lot of respect, knowing that it will be one of toughest things I have ever done in my racing career. I am really grateful that BMW offered to start this project and to all the engineers in Munich who are already preparing the car. I will do my very best to represent them in such a competitive field,” he added.