Alex Zanardi will contest the 2019 24 Hours of Daytona in a modified BMW M8 GTE.
The 51-year-old’s plans were announced in a Tweet from BMW Motorsport on Friday.
Jens Marquardt and @lxznr just announced that Alex will compete in the 2019 Daytona 24h race in a modified BMW M8 GTE! He will now start his “Road to Daytona”, including development works on a new braking system. #BMWSeasonReview17 #RoadtoDaytona pic.twitter.com/6S0mXNu0qp
— BMW Motorsport (@BMWMotorsport) December 15, 2017
For the next year, Zanardi and the BMW Motorsport engineers will work on a new brake system which will allow him to race without his artificial limbs.
“I am delighted that we will be working with Alessandro Zanardi on this new project in 2018,” BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said. “It was his great desire to return to North America for another big race. We are only too happy to make that possible. The fans at Daytona can look forward to a real highlight with Alex and the BMW M8 GTE in 2019.”
One of the heroes of the CART era, where he won back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998, Zanardi’s career was turned on its head when he lost both legs in a massive accident at the Lausitzring in 2001.
He later completed an unlikely return to racing driving modified BMWs in the WTCC, where he picked up four race wins, and more recently in the Blancpain Series. Outside of motorsport, he also swiftly rose through the ranks of international handcycle racing, winning multiple high-profile events on his way to securing four gold medals and two silvers at the London and Rio Paralympics in 2012 and 2016, respectively.