Former F1 star Alessandro Zanardi, who lost both his legs in a horrific, life-threatening champ car accident in Germany two years ago, will return to racing in the Italian touring car championship.

Former F1 star Alessandro Zanardi, who lost both his legs in a horrific, life-threatening champ car accident in Germany two years ago, will return to racing in the Italian touring car championship.


Zanardi was leading the Champcar race at the Lausitzring in Germany on September 15 2001, when he lost control of his car upon exiting the pitlane and was struck by Alex Tagliani’s car at over 300 km/h. The Italian lost both his legs in the accident and almost bled to death, but he awoke from his coma and, after undergoing major surgery and a skin graft, began a long and arduous programme of rehabilitation.


Two years later, the brave Italian is set to compete in motorsport again and will pilot a BMW 320i (specially adapted to his requirements) in the FIA European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) on October 19 at Monza.


"Two years ago I escaped death by a whisker," the 36-year-old said this week. "Although the situation was really bad at the time, I set myself the goal of leading a normal life again at some time in the future. Today, I can walk, I swim, I go skiing, and on October 19 I will complete my vision by competing seriously in a race”.


“I believe that sometimes in life it's difficult to regain your courage after a stroke of bad luck. If I manage to keep pace in Monza in October, I shall have reaffirmed my faith in myself: where there’s a will, there's a way," Zanardi added.


Ravaglia Motorsport have converted a BMW 320i for Zanardi so that he can accelerate using steering wheel controls and the clutch is on the gearshift.


"When Alex came to us and said he wanted to drive, we immediately put all systems on go to provide full technical support,” team manager Roberto Ravaglia said. “We have already seen some results from his telemetry data. Alex’s performance is impressive when you reflect on the obvious difficulties and the lack of training. That motivates the team to prepare the car in the best possible way."

Original article from Car