An extraordinary trio of BMW Motorsport drivers will line up at the first joint race event between the DTM and the Japanese SUPER GT series in Fuji (JPN). One of the drivers is now confirmed: BMW works driver and BMW Brand Ambassador, Alessandro Zanardi (ITA). From 22nd to 24th November, DTM manufacturers BMW and Audi will be at the former Formula 1 circuit near Fuji (JPN) for a joint race with SUPER GT cars from Honda, Lexus and Nissan.
This first for the two series has been named the ‘SUPER GT x DTM Dream Race’ and, as in the DTM, will consist of one race on the Saturday and one on the Sunday. Zanardi’s BMW team-mates for Fuji will be announced at a later date.
“Nobody has forgotten Alex Zanardi’s magnificent guest DTM start at 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,” says BMW Group Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt.
“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 at Misano and most recently at the 24 Hours of Daytona. We will reveal the drivers to complete our trio at Fuji at a later date.”
In August 2018, Zanardi made a guest appearance in the two DTM races at Misano, Italy, where he finished a sensational fifth on the Sunday. The BMW M4 DTM had been specially modified for Zanardi, including a handbrake system and an accelerator ring on the steering wheel, allowing him to drive without his artificial legs. In January 2019, the 52-year-old raced in the 24 Hours of Daytona (USA) in a similarly adapted BMW M8 GTE. In preparation for Fuji, Zanardi will return to the cockpit at the start of October, when he will drive a modified BMW M6 GT3 at the penultimate race weekend of the 2019 Italian GT Championship at Mugello (ITA).
“To compete in the Dream Race with the DTM and Super GT is something wonderful for me. The word ‘wonderful’ is probably used too often, but it is really appropriate in this case,” says Zanardi.
“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. 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.”
Zanardi’s appearance at the ‘Fuji International Speedway’ is significant also for another reason. The racetrack will be the venue for the paracycling competitions at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Zanardi’s goal is to qualify for the Tokyo Games.