Alex Zanardi covers nearly 300 laps in Vallelunga BMW DTM test

Alex Zanardi covered 294 laps of Vallelunga in his first test of his modified DTM BMW this week, and declared his new hand-operated brake system a huge step forward.



Alex Zanardi covers nearly 300 laps in Vallelunga BMW DTM test

The double Champ Car champion and ex-Formula 1 driver is using a hand-operated brake for the first time in the M4, which he will race at Misano at the end of August.



He had previously braked with his prosthetic leg in his other motor racing campaigns since the 2001 accident in which he lost both legs.



"The progress from the previous system to the current one is massive," said Zanardi.



"Driving a racecar like the BMW M4 DTM is physically very demanding. For me, it would be far more strenuous if I were to continue to brake with my prosthesis as I have done up to now.



"I admit that it felt very strange to have a completely empty footwell with no pedal box in front of me the first time I pulled out of the garage.



"I thought: 'That's strange!' But I have to say, the whole system worked very intuitively for me. I am getting along excellently with it."



A BMW statement the new set-up was designed to be less physically tiring, as with the previous arrangement Zanardi "sweated too much under the prosthetic leg. This not only led to him becoming exhausted more quickly, but also to him losing a little of his feeling for the right braking pressure."



Zanardi added: "I won't be faster, but I wouldn't had never accomplished all I did at the two days with the old system.



"I completed so many laps with a car that I had never driven before, and after not having raced for nearly two years.



"That would just have been impossible with the solution I had before. It's like I am, from a physical point of view, a different driver.

"

The 51-year-old underlined that he had limited expectations for his Misano outing given the competitiveness of the DTM field.



"It is going to be a huge event for me - and probably one of the most difficult tasks I have ever faced in my motor racing career," said Zanardi.



"In my opinion, the DTM is currently the most fiercely-competitive racing series in the world and the one with the best field - even better than Formula 1.



"I will try to finish ahead of at least one car. Let's see whether I manage it. It is going to be tough, but very interesting."

shares
comments
Mercedes: Brands Hatch will be 2018 DTM's 'first real unknown'
Previous article

Mercedes: Brands Hatch will be 2018 DTM's 'first real unknown'

Next article

DTM: Juncadella secures pole for opening race at Brands Hatch

DTM: Juncadella secures pole for opening race at Brands Hatch
The longest-serving Red Bull driver revealing F1’s true brutality Plus

The longest-serving Red Bull driver revealing F1’s true brutality

His day of days in Formula 1 came at Indianapolis in 2005, a day grand prix racing strives to forget. But Patrick Friesacher, the long-serving Red Bull lieutenant, remains active today driving a two-seater that provides ordinary people with a glimpse of an F1 car’s savage potential, including this writer...

Formula 1
Jun 2, 2022
How the DTM has come back stronger from its Norisring nadir Plus

How the DTM has come back stronger from its Norisring nadir

OPINION: Questionable driving standards and farcical team orders meant the DTM's first season under GT3 regulations ended under a cloud. But the organisation has responded firmly by banning team orders and welcomed new manufacturers, making for an intriguing season ahead as new and returning names prepare for battle

DTM
Mar 30, 2022
The remarkable career of a 'classy' champion who rejected politics Plus

The remarkable career of a 'classy' champion who rejected politics

Over two decades as a factory driver with Audi and BMW, Martin Tomczyk earned the respect of team-mates and rivals as a hard but fair racer. After calling time on his racing career, the 2011 DTM champion sat down with Autosport to look back

GT
Mar 5, 2022
The other Hamilton conqueror seeking career revival Plus

The other Hamilton conqueror seeking career revival

On his rise through the ranks before reaching Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton was usually a cut above the rest. But he never truly asserted himself over a Mercedes-backed fellow Briton who traded single-seaters for touring cars and is now seeking new opportunities after a year largely spent on the sidelines

DTM
Dec 18, 2021
How the DTM's shambolic finale poses awkward future questions Plus

How the DTM's shambolic finale poses awkward future questions

OPINION: The scenes at the Norisring as Mercedes used blatant team orders to secure the first DTM title of the new GT3 era totally undermined the credibility of the championship. But as well as overshadowing the season, it also presents uncomfortable questions to series bosses about the direction it is headed in

DTM
Oct 12, 2021
How Audi's new DTM star is channeling Rast to achieve his "childhood dream" Plus

How Audi's new DTM star is channeling Rast to achieve his "childhood dream"

Having learned the ropes in GT3 alongside Rene Rast, Kelvin van der Linde is in line to take up the three-time champion's baton as Audi's new DTM king. From humble origins in South Africa, it's been a remarkable journey so far for the current series leader, but he knows that the 2021 title is a long way from settled just yet

DTM
Sep 18, 2021
The number-crunching behind the new-look DTM's equalisation drive Plus

The number-crunching behind the new-look DTM's equalisation drive

Switching to GT3 regulations marked a fresh start for the DTM in 2021, but it has also drawn a line in the sand against other series using similar cars by engaging AVL Racing to develop a bespoke Balance of Performance system. Here’s how it works

DTM
Jul 23, 2021
The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars Plus

The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars

OPINION: Facing collapse last year, the DTM has shifted its philosophy from a championship for silhouette-based touring cars to GT machines not too dissimilar to those racing across multiple series worldwide. But despite some initial BoP-based teething troubles, there were some pleasant findings as the 'new DTM' got underway at Monza

DTM
Jun 22, 2021