Double amputee Alex Zanardi set for 24 Hours of Daytona race
Two-time CART champion, ex-Formula 1 driver, and winner of 4 Paralympic gold medals Alex Zanardi will be driving a BMW at the 24 Hours of Daytona.
The 52-year-old, who lost both legs after a crash in 2001, will drive the endurance race without his prosthetic legs, using a modified steering wheel instead, a challenging but exciting prospect for him. When he takes to the track for the 24 Hours of Daytona later this month, the former IndyCar champ says he hopes for a good result.
"Looking at a long distance race that was certainly not an ideal solution, because to have my prosthetic legs fitted it makes it very physical very, very demanding from a physical point of view, and so when I was asked what from the engineers, Alex what do you need I said I need to redesign everything in order to do everything with my hands and lose my legs, leave them in the garage," said Zanari.
Zanardi will be driving the newly-developed BMW M8 GTE, a car equipped bespoke solutions to allow him to control everything with hand controls. It will be modified to work for him but still be shareable with other drivers.
He was back racing less than two years after the accident, competing in the FIA World Touring Car Championship for BMW Team Italy-Spain between 2003 and 2009. Zanardi is known for his perseverance which has also earned him four Paralympic hand cycling gold medals since his racing incident 18 years ago.