Report: Alex Zanardi keen to make Indianapolis 500 debut


Two years ago, Alex Zanardi was presented with one of his race-winning chassis from his heyday at Target Chip Ganassi Racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It was ironic purely because Zanardi, the Italian who became a hero for so many (this author included) during his CART-winning title days and only increased that status with his resilience, determination and success in hand-cycling after his devastating accident where he lost both legs in Germany, never had the chance to race the Indianapolis 500.

Not for the first time though, he’s spoken publicly of his desire to change that. And considering it’s Alex, a guy who doesn’t seem to have the word “no” in his vocabulary, you can’t completely rule it out.

Speaking to Autosport’s Gary Watkins at this past weekend’s TOTAL 24 Hours of Spa, Zanardi said he’s still keen to try the race, in what would need to be an IndyCar adapted with hand controls.

“I’m not going to be an unsatisfied old man if it doesn’t happen, but I would love to do the Indy 500 if the right opportunity came up,” said Zanardi, who turns 49 in October.

Zanardi’s longtime friend and past CGR teammate, Jimmy Vasser, is a co-owner in KVSH Racing and KV Racing Technology and would make sense. Zanardi told Watkins he doesn’t want to abuse the friendship.

The planning for such an event would require Zanardi to get back into an open-wheel car, something he hasn’t done since driving a modified Reynard-Ford with hand controls at the Lausitzring in 2003, on an inspirational day when he finished the remaining laps he missed in 2001.