BMW works driver Alessandro Zanardi completes official test days for the Blancpain GT Series







Published by Gerald Ferreira Date: March 12, 2014
Categories: BMW, BMW Racing

Le Castellet (FR), 12th March 2014. With two intensive days of  testing, BMW works driver Alessandro Zanardi (IT) and ROAL Motorsport  continued their preparations for the 2014 season. This week (11th and  12th March) they took part in the official test days for the Blancpain  GT Series at “Circuit Paul Ricard” at Le Castellet (FR). The Blancpain  GT Series consists of two championships, the Blancpain Sprint Series  and the Blancpain Endurance Series.

Alessandro_Zanardi

The official test days offered the first opportunity for Zanardi to  share the track with his competitors in the 2014 Blancpain Sprint  Series. In this championship the BMW works driver, who had both his  legs amputated, will contest his comeback season with a specially  modified BMW Z4 GT3 entered by ROAL Motorsport.

Conditions were good in the South of France, with mostly sunny  weather and mild temperatures. The ROAL Motorsport team worked on  further optimising the modifications made to the car for Zanardi’s  needs. Among others, they worked on the mapping of the special clutch  and on the special brake pedal. In addition, the squad used the two  days to intensively work on setting up the BMW Z4 GT3, evaluating  set-up solutions for qualifying as well as setting the car up for long  race distances. In doing so, Zanardi completed successful long-runs on  both days.

BMW-Racing

“Things are going well. But I have to say that for sure it won’t be  easy”, Zanardi said. “I was expecting the challenge to be hard, but  now I know that this, in fact, will be the case because in the  Blancpain Sprint Series I am going to face an opposition of very fast  and young drivers. Nevertheless I think we can be there and that we  can do well, but for sure we still have to make improvements. In terms  of the race pace we are already very close to where we are supposed to  be. We are fast on worn tyres, but we still have to find a way to  balance the car better with new tyres, in order to put together one  good flying lap in qualifying. After this test we will look at all the  data we have collected, and I am sure we will be able to learn a lot  from what we did in the past two days.”

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“For Alex, it was the first test together with the other cars from  the series”, added Roberto Ravaglia, Team Principal of ROAL  Motorsport. “So far, it is still quite difficult to make a comparison  as everybody is running with different conditions. You don’t know who  is on new tyres, who runs with low fuel and so on. So it is not easy  to judge how competitive we are. But Alex is doing good lap times and  I have a good feeling. Between the outings, we also made changes to  the car similar to those you do during a race weekend. This helps Alex  to learn how the car reacts to these changes, for example when you  change the springs and so on, so he gets used to the differences.  Overall, I am quite satisfied with the work we have done with him in  these two days.”

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Background:

Zanardi lost both legs in a serious crash while racing in 2001, but  only two years later he successfully returned to motorsport with BMW.  Among other things, he contested in the FIA World Touring Car  Championship (WTCC) for several seasons, where he celebrated four race  wins. Having won two gold medals on his handbike at the 2012  Paralympics in London (GB) and completed a test in the BMW M3 DTM in  the same year, he is now set to contest a full season for BMW for the  first time since 2009. Zanardi’s first race in the Blancpain Sprint  Series is scheduled for the 21st April in Nogaro (FR).