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Zanardi Set for First Race Appearance Since Daytona

Alex Zanardi to drive GT3-spec BMW in three-hour Italian GT Championship enduro…

Photo: BMW

Alex Zanardi is set to make his first race appearance since January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona in the next round of the Italian GT Championship.

The two-time CART champion will drive a specially modified BMW M6 GT3 in the penultimate race of the season at Mugello on October 6.

Zanardi will share the drive with BMW Motorsport junior Erik Johansson and Italian racer Stefano Comandini. This pairing won the most recent round of the series last weekend with BMW Formula E driver Alexander Sims.

The car will have the same hand-control system that Zanardi used in the BMW M8 GTE at Daytona, featuring a gas ring to operate the accelerator and a fully automatic centrifugal clutch.

“I’m really looking forward to the weekend at Mugello, for many reasons,” said Zanardi, also drove an M6 GT3 to victory in the 2016 Italian GT season finale.

“For one thing, it has been a few months now since my last race at Daytona and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel again.

“BMW Team Italia managed by my old friend Roberto Ravaglia is also like a second family to me – as are the engineers at BMW M Motorsport, who have been close by my side for many years. Now we are all returning to the track together.

“And last but not least are the memories of the win in 2016, on my debut in the BMW M6 GT3. It was an unforgettable and indescribable weekend.

“I already know that I will enjoy the preparation and race at Mugello from the first to the final moment.”

BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt added, “We’re really looking forward to competing with Alex again at Mugello.

“The emotions of his win there three years ago are still very real to us all, as are the many impressions that his guest start at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January left on us.

“It’s great to see him at the wheel of a BMW race car again, and we’re confident that the weekend at Mugello will be fantastic.”

Zanardi’s Italian GT cameo will occur in the middle of his preparations for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Last week, the 52-year-old claimed a 12th career handcycling gold medal in the world championships and is also set to take part in an Ironman triathlon in Italy this weekend.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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