BMW plans to modify a Z4 GT3 not only to accommodate world's toughest double-amputee Alex Zanardi, but other drivers as well. According to Axis of Oversteer, the team will participate in the 2015 Total 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, but the team has an interesting design challenge to make it work.
How can a team share a car when only one driver has no legs? There are handicapped controls that you can swap into nearly any car to allow a person who doesn't have use of their legs to control the floor pedals using a series of levers that reach up behind the steering wheel. Those take a while to swap in and out, making them a no-go for quick driver swaps. You can (in theory) still use the floor pedals with many of those systems still in place, however, in practice, it's really easy to whack into those levers with your legs. Clearly, the off-the-shelf solutions aren't the answer here.
According to Fox Sports, BMW Motorsport is developing its own special components for braking, acceleration and gear changes that will not only allow the car to be drivable by Zanardi, but will also allow for driver changes to happen in a competitive amount of time.
Alex Zanardi had this to say of the design challenge, as quoted by Axis of Oversteer:
If you first look at it, it seems impossible that a guy with no legs like me lines up together with "normal" drivers in such a highly competitive, tough and prestigious event. But I know that my friends at BMW Motorsport have all the technical expertise and innovative ideas to master this challenge.
Per Fox, Zanardi will also compete in the Blancpain Endurance Series' 1000-km race at Paul Ricard to prepare for the longer race at Spa.
"To compete in the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps will definitely be the next highlight in my career," said Zanardi, as quoted by Fox Sports."I have been dreaming of racing in an endurance classic like this for a long time, and it is great that Jens Marquardt and BMW Motorsport are turning this dream into a reality."
The 24 Hours of Spa will be on July 25-26. Axis of Oversteer reports that Zanardi will then go on to the Paracycling World Championships in August before attempting his second Ironman World Championship triathalon in October.
Nothing will slow this guy down.
Zanardi's teammates will be named at a later date.
Photo credit: AP Images
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