Multiple news outlets have reported that Alex Zanardi has been airlifted to a hospital in Italy after being involved in a serious accident during a handcycling race.
Italian media first reported early on Friday evening that the 53-year-old champion racing driver and Paralympian had been taken to hospital in Siena after a crash on the road near the town of Pienza.
According to Associated Press, Zanardi was involved in an accident with a “heavy vehicle” and underwent brain surgery late Friday. He is currently in “very serious” condition.
The accident came just hours after Zanardi’s next motorsport venture was announced, in the form of a drive in the Italian GT Championship at Monza in November.
Zanardi won back-to-back CART titles in 1997 and 1998 before he was involved in a life-changing crash at the Lausitzring in 2001 which resulted in him losing both his legs.
The Italian then went on to make a remarkable recovery to continue his motorsport career using specially adapted hand-controlled systems to drive.
He also worked to become a gold medal-winning hand cyclist and has been training for his planned appearance in the rescheduled Tokyo Games due to take place next year.
Last year saw Zanardi take part in the Rolex 24 at Daytona for the first time, driving a BMW M8 GTE, while he also competed in the Super GT/DTM ‘Dream Race’ at Fuji.