Alex Zanardi gets BMW drive for DTM, SUPER GT Fuji joint-race

Alex Zanardi has been announced as the first of BMW's three drivers for the joint-race between the DTM and SUPER GT

Alex Zanardi gets BMW drive for DTM, SUPER GT Fuji joint-race

Zanardi made his DTM debut in a guest outing for BMW last year at Misano, pictured below, and took a surprise fifth place finish in a topsy-turvy mixed-weather finale.

While Audi ran MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso as a guest driver in 2019 - using the WRT Audi vacated by Pietro Fittipaldi filling in for Jamie Green at factory squad Rosberg - BMW elected not to do so during the campaign.

BMW motorsport boss Jens Marquardt initially put that decision down to BMW having too many commitments in motorsport to add an additional car, before stating at the Nurburgring that the call was due to its struggles during the 2019 DTM season but promised "a good package" for Fuji.

Two-time CART champion Zanardi will again use a specially adapted M4 DTM, including a handbrake system and an accelerator ring on the steering wheel, allowing him to drive without his artificial legs.

"To compete in the Dream Race with the DTM and Super GT is something wonderful for me," said Zanardi.

"The word 'wonderful' is probably used too often, but it is really appropriate in this case.

"The mere fact that I am still able to go racing is like a gift for me anyway. However, the BMW M4 DTM is definitely one of the best race cars I have driven in my career.

"Plus, I will have an extra 100 hp under the bonnet this year [due to 2019 Class One machinery]. It is going to be fantastic, and I am extremely grateful to BMW Motorsport for this opportunity.

"I know that racing in the DTM is a huge challenge, as all the drivers are highly-professional and excellently prepared. And this time we will also have the drivers from Super GT too.

"As such, my expectations are not too great, from a sporting perspective. I just want to perform to the best of my ability and put on a display worthy of the event. "On the whole, however, I am sure that this is going to be another great chapter in my motor racing career."

Marquardt added: "Nobody has forgotten Alex Zanardi's magnificent guest DTM start in Misano in 2018. As such, we are delighted that he will now be returning to the wheel of the BMW M4 DTM as part of our dream team for Fuji.

"Alex inspires people all over the world and it is fantastic to have him on board in Japan. We are confident that he will cause just as much of a buzz as he did in Misano and most recently at the 24 Hours of Daytona.

"We will reveal the drivers to complete our trio in Fuji at a later date."

Prior to Fuji, Zanardi will drive a modified BMW M6 GT3 at the penultimate round of the 2019 Italian GT Championship in Mugello in October.

Audi is currently evaluating its joint-race line-up, with two-time DTM champion Rene Rast and former SUPER GT contender Loic Duval expected to be in contention, although the "SUPER GT x DTM Dream Race" promoters are keen for it to run a local driver.

The R-Motorsport Aston Martin squad announced during the Nurburgring weekend that it would not take part at Fuji in order to focus on developing the underpowered Aston Martin Vantage DTM for 2020.

shares
comments
Williams Formula 1 driver Kubica admits DTM is an option for 2020

Previous article

Williams Formula 1 driver Kubica admits DTM is an option for 2020

Next article

Jenson Button: Patience needed during DTM and SUPER GT's tie-up

Jenson Button: Patience needed during DTM and SUPER GT's tie-up
Load comments
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
Why Albon has his work cut out in the new-look DTM Plus

Why Albon has his work cut out in the new-look DTM

The DTM moves into its bold new GT3 era with welcome support from Red Bull, which enters two AF Corse-run Ferraris. That includes one for ex-F1 driver Alex Albon, who’s determined to make a success of his GT switch - but he knows it won't be easy...

DTM
Jun 17, 2021
The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king Plus

The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king

It's taken him a while to emerge as a consistent title challenger, but in the final year of DTM's Class One rule set, Nico Muller has smoothed the rough edges and has double champion stablemate Rene Rast working harder than ever to keep up in the title race

DTM
Oct 13, 2020
How a DTM failure became an unlikely Nurburgring conqueror Plus

How a DTM failure became an unlikely Nurburgring conqueror

Opel's fortunes in the DTM had taken a turn for the worst by 2003 - hardly the pedigree that suggested it could take on the toughest 24-hour race of them all. But that's exactly what it did

DTM
Sep 23, 2020
The season that revitalised a sleeping giant Plus

The season that revitalised a sleeping giant

On the 20th anniversary of the resumption of hostilities in the DTM, Autosport revisits a classic season that brought a staple of German motorsport back to life with a bang and set in motion the careers of some notable names

DTM
May 28, 2020