BMW Works Driver Alessandro Zanardi is truly an inspiration to everyone at the automaker. He has been racing all of his life, and started his career as a Formula One driver. In 2001, a horrific accident on the track claimed both of his legs, and usually that means the end of a career as a race car driver.
You would be wrong. By 2003, Zanardi was back behind the wheel of a car modified for him, and by 2004 he was racing full-time on a BMW touring car team. You can learn more about his car in the video below:
Beyond motorsports, Zanardi has been competing in triathlons and handcycling events around the world. He won two gold medals at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, and has won the handcycling class of the New York Marathon.
This past weekend, despite strong winds and extreme heat, he placed 167 overall in a group of 2,425 participants in his second long-distance triathlon, the Ironman World Championship. He was first in the “PC,” or Physically Challenged, division with a time of 9 hours and 40 minutes. He swam 2.4 miles in the open ocean, handcycled for 112 miles, and used an Olympic wheelchair to compete in the 26.2 mile running portion. All together, that’s 140.6 miles of stiff competition!
Even when out of a car, Zanardi is still sponsored by BMW and his teammates in the auto world are very excited for his victory. Next up on his plate is a (car) race in Germany, where he will be behind the wheel of the BMW M4 DTM Race Taxi.