Alex Zanardi returns to GT racing with BMW

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It’s hard not to love Alex Zanardi. The former CART champion and ex-Formula One driver who suffered the terrible accident at Germany in 2001 that cost him both his legs, continues to amaze and surprise on a regular basis.

The 47-year-old Italian will be back in a race car this year, in a modified BMW Z4 GT3 to compete in the Blancpain GT Series with the ROAL Motorsport BMW team. That reunited him with the team he competed with in the FIA World Touring Car Championship, where Zanardi won a handful of races.

Since he’s been out of the cockpit, Zanardi has turned to hand cycling and won two gold medals at the 2012 Paralympics. He also made the trip to the Indianapolis 500 this past year, where he was awarded his car from the 1996 CART race at Laguna Seca where he made “the pass” on Bryan Herta at the Corkscrew.

“Even after leaving the sport in 2009, I was still a racing driver at heart,” he said. “When I took to the track in the BMW M3 DTM at the end of 2012, I immediately got itchy fingers again. Ever since that moment I have been toying with the idea of returning to motor racing.”

And we’re delighted to see it come to fruition. The Blancpain GT schedule begins April 12-13 at Monza; a full link to the schedule is here via the ROAL Motorsport website.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”