In less than a month, 52-year-old Alex Zanardi will cross a major entry off of his bucket list. The Italian driver, who lost his legs in a terrible accident at the Lausitzring in CART in 2001, is set to take on the Rolex 24 at Daytona, first round on the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship calendar. This past weekend, the former Williams driver in Formula 1 (among others) participated in the Roar Before the Rolex 24, three days of official testing sessions for teams and drivers to prepare for the race. Zanardi, paralympic champion at the Olympics in London in 2012 and Rio in 2016, already did some laps at the Daytona circuit in December at the wheel of BMW Team RLL's #24 BMW M8 GTE. The car fielded in the GTLM class (the equivalent of LMGTE Pro at the 24 Hours of Le Mans) has been modified to accommodate Zanardi's disability, and is equipped with a special steering wheel so he can accelerate and brake with his hands.
During the Roar, Alex Zanardi reunited with a few former Formula 1 drivers such as Fernando Alonso (getting ready to take the start at his second Rolex 24 at Daytona, with the Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R.) and Rubens Barrichello (JDC-Miller Motorsports).
Recall that in 2016, Frédéric Sausset - a French driver and quad-amputee due to a bacteriological accident - participated in the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the wheel of the SRT41 by OAK Racing team's Morgan LMP2-Nissan shared with Christophe Tinseau and Jean-Bernard Bouvet. Perhaps after the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Alex Zanardi may be tempted to take on the 24 Hours of Le Mans!
PHOTO (Copyright - IMSA): Alex Zanardi with former CART driver Jimmy Vasser at the Roar Before the Rolex 24.