Alex Zanardi will make a guest appearance in the DTM races at Misano in August as part of his preparation for a Rolex 24 at Daytona entry in January.
The 51-year-old, who lost both of his legs in a crash 17 years ago, has driven a variety of BMW machinery in recent years, including a Z4 GT3 at the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
He will compete in the Misano round of the DTM series on Aug. 25-26 in a modified BMW M4 DTM and will be present in the paddock this weekend.
Zanardi will accompany the BMW DTM teams at the Hungaroring this weekend to familiarize himself with the series, while initial roll-outs and test drives are planned over the coming weeks.
“I am incredibly excited about racing the BMW M4 DTM at Misano because I always dreamt of adding the DTM experience into my ‘book of best moments’ in my motorsport career,” he said.
“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. 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.”
BMW announced in December that Zanardi will enter next year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona in a modified BMW M8 GTE.
His last official race outing was in October 2016 at the Italian GT Championship season finale at Mugello, where he made his debut in the BMW M6 GT3 and picked up a race win.
“Alex Zanardi as a guest starter in Misano – that will be a real sensation in an already spectacular DTM season,” added BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt.
“The fans can look forward to a fantastic race weekend in Misano: the DTM’s first guest appearance at this track, the first ever night race in the DTM and Alex Zanardi, who as the ‘local hero’ will play his part in making this event a special experience for everyone.
“Our thanks go to the ITR and our colleagues from Audi and Mercedes-Benz for giving the green-light for this guest start.
“Our engineers are currently using all their expertise and ideas to work on modifying the BMW M4 DTM to suit Alex’s requirements. We are looking forward to having Alex in our BMW DTM family.”