Published on June 14th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
BMW Motorsports rolls out their handicap-friendly Z4 GT3 for Spa 24h
Developing racecars for handicapped drivers isn’t an entirely new concept. One of the Mazda MX-5s competing in the States was modified to work with an amputee driver, and there are a few drifters out there who managed to get to where they are without full use of their limbs.
Alex Zanardi has also had a long and illustrious racing career, but an unfortunate incident at the turn of the century led to him having a double amputation, for both of his legs. After two years of rehabilitation, he was back at it and managed to set reasonable lap times- enough for him to consider getting back into the swing of things.
His partnership with BMW Motorsport has led to him competing with a DTM car on the Nurburgring, as well as with a Z4 GT3 just last year for the Blancpain Sprint Series. This time around, he will be taking on something a little more difficult: 24 hours at Spa, joined by teammates Bruno Spengler and Timo Glock.
The engineers at BMW Motorsport had the difficult task of making the car operable by both able-bodied and amputee drivers alike in a competitive manner. Zanardi, who is used to hand controls, had a special steering wheel set developed for him- while the other two drivers will use conventional pedals to operate the GT3 machine.
It’s an interesting project and it will be great to see the three of them throwing down on Spa Francorchamps. Between now and the 24 hour race, there will be a 6-hour endurance race at Paul Ricard circuit, where the three will be testing under race conditions.