Alex Zanardi will make a special guest appearance in the DTM for BMW Motorsport at Misano.
The German touring car championship has given the green light for Zanardi to make a one-off start in the series where he will drive a specially adapted BMW M4 DTM race car.
The 51-year-old ex-Formula 1, CART and WTCC driver, who lost both his legs in a horrific CART crash in 2001, is preparing to make his racing return for the first time in two years at the Misano round from August 25-26.
His last outing came in a BMW M6 GT3 in the Italian GT Championshipin 2016, following a run at the 2015 Spa 24 Hours and a full Blancpain GT sprint campaign the previous year.
Zanardi, a BMW factory driver, has previously driven adapted DTM machinery during a test in 2012, but is yet to make a start in the series.
The Italian is planning to use the race as preparation for an assault on the Daytona 24 Hours next year.
“I am incredibly excited about racing the BMW M4 DTM at Misano because I always dreamt of adding the DTM experience into my ‘book of best moments' in my motorsport career,” said Zanardi.
“DTM has for many years been one of the motorsport disciplines that are the pinnacles of racing regarding technology, the speed of the car and the level of the competition, which these days is higher than ever.
“The skills of the drivers competing in DTM and the preparation of the teams are, in my view, as good as in Formula 1.
“They are top of the game and you can't get any better than that. And on the other hand that is what concerns me and will make me to approach this challenge with a lot of respect, knowing that it will be one of toughest things I have ever done in my racing career.
“I am really grateful that BMW offered to start this project and to all the engineers in Munich who are already preparing the car. I will do my very best to represent them in such a competitive field.”
Zanardi will join BMW DTM drivers at Hungaroring this weekend to familiarise himself with the details of procedures, structures and processes in the DTM.
A roll-out and test drives are additional steps planned for the coming weeks.