BMW: Zanardi better off focusing on endurance, no further DTM plans

BMW says it has no further plans to run Alex Zanardi in the DTM and believes endurance racing remains a better fit for the ex-Formula 1 and CART driver

Zanardi finished a sensational fifth in an additional seventh BMW M4 DTM entry with special hand controls in the second night race at Misano last weekend.

BMW motorsport boss Jens Marquardt praised Zanardi for his performances at Misano, especially given his limited testing experience, but believes the 51-year-old would be better off focusing on sportscars than further DTM outings.

Zanardi is already scheduled to race in next year's Daytona 24 Hours in an adapted BMW M8 GTE.

Marquardt said: "To have him compete in a full season, also with his other commitments; obviously the 2020 Paralympics are coming onto the horizon, Ironman...

"With all respect to Alex - and we all know he always says, 'I'm like a red wine, getting better every year!' - he's the same age as I am! It's a super-tight field [in DTM].

"What we have seen is a really impressive performance, but I think the endurance stuff we are planning with him is really an easier application and an easier task for him than the sprint set-up we have here."

Zanardi said his packed media schedule was such that he "didn't have time to fart", when asked if he could foresee being involved in the DTM full-time.

"I am an old man: I can take it one week a year, not week in, week out!" he added.

"If they want me to be involved, they would have to work out a different programme. If I could only drive [DTM], yes, I would love to."

Zanardi is the second of three guest drivers appearing in the DTM this season, following the retired Mattias Ekstrom's Hockenheim outing at the start of the season with Audi.

Five-time World Rally champion Sebastien Ogier will join the field at the Red Bull Ring next month, making his series debut in a Mercedes.

Marquardt described the DTM's new-for-2018 guest driver initiative as a "positive" for the series and said he expects it to continue into '19.

"We will discuss together but I don't see why this shouldn't carry over into next year," he said.

"It really makes sense, for the spectators it's a very good experience."

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