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Top-notch BMW engineering, expertise and passion: a growth of Alessandro Zanardi’s pushing systems, from 2003 to now.

Munich. When BMW works motorist Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) climbs
behind a circle of a BMW M8 GTE during a 24 Hours of Daytona (USA,
26th/27th January), he will embark on the
latest section of his rare career

Zanardi has enjoyed success in BMW competition cars for many years.
Just dual years after his pile-up in a CART competition during a Lausitzring,
that resulted in a detriment of both legs, he was behind pushing a
specifically mutated BMW 320i in a 2003 European Touring Car
Championship. Since then, he has raced for BMW M Motorsport in
several series. In a process, he and a BMW M Motorsport
engineers have been ceaselessly perfecting a systems that allow
him to race. From a BMW 320i, a BMW Z4 GT3 and a BMW M6 GT3 to
a BMW M4 DTM and a BMW M8 GTE: an overview of a continual
serve growth of a modifications to Zanardi’s BMW competition cars.


“When we woke and realised that we no longer had legs, we did not ask
myself: What am we going to do though legs? Instead, we thought: Okay,
what do we need to do to be means to do all we wish to without
legs,” says Zanardi, recalling a time immediately after his pile-up on
15th Sep 2001.


His skeleton enclosed a rapid lapse to racing. He did initially
confront a grade of questioning per his quip plans. After
all, a double leg amputee was something new in a universe of
motorsport: “People were fearful that something could occur to me.
However, if we mangle a leg, all we need is a screwdriver to correct it,”
he explains, with his customary self-deprecating humour. “When we had to
do a medical checks to get my licence, they achieved countless
examinations. we felt like they were usually looking for an forgive to say:
‘Sorry, we can’t do it’. When they examined my head, we told them:
‘Hey guys, we mislaid my legs in a crash, not my head!’”


But not everybody was sceptical. In Munich, Zanardi was welcomed with
open arms. “I was advantageous that a illusory association like BMW was
meddlesome in a project. They were unequivocally meddlesome in doing
something some-more than usually display how technically modernized their
methods were, and how good their cars are. It was about what a person
needs. And a rest is story – here we are now.”


BMW 320i and BMW 320si – ETCC and WTCC.

The story began in 2003 with a BMW 320i. Together with BMW
Motorsport and BMW Team Italy-Spain, that belonged to furloughed car
fable Roberto Ravaglia (ITA), Zanardi designed to competition during a season
culmination of a European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) during Monza (ITA).
“At first, we suspicion that we would have to do all with my hands.
With a initial system, we was braking with a ring on a steering
wheel. we used another ring to accelerate and operated a H gearbox
with my right hand. My fingers operated a clutch, around a symbol on
a rigging lever. we was fundamentally steering regulating usually a round of my
thumbs,” he recalls. “That was unequivocally too much. When we came back
to a garage after a initial test, we pronounced to a guys: ‘I have so
most to do, we am branch with my arms and hands – though if we could put
a small brush between my legs too, afterwards we could also brush a cockpit.”


And so it was that Zanardi suggested regulating his synthetic legs: “The
engineers were a small sceptical, though we was certain that we could apply
adequate force to a stop pedal if my synthetic leg was trustworthy to
it and we could use my hips to request downward pressure. All we had to
do was to rise a stop pedal to that my synthetic leg could be
henceforth attached. That valid to be a unequivocally fit solution. I
beheld in a unequivocally initial exam that we could not usually request the
required pressure, though was astounded by how good we could control the
vigour and feel a stop pedal.”


The complement was motionless upon: a ring on a steering circle was used to
accelerate, a brakes were operated around his synthetic leg and the
stop pedal, and a H gearbox was managed with his right hand. This
complement was afterwards used in competition: in a ETCC from 2003 to 2004 and
afterwards from 2005 to 2009 in a FIA World Touring Car Championship
(WTCC), in that Zanardi claimed 4 competition wins in a BMW 320i and
BMW 320si. Over a years, a complement was consistently optimised and
finished some-more efficient.


BMW Z4 GT3 – Blancpain GT Series.

Having focussed usually on his second passion, paracycling, for
several years after 2010, Zanardi announced his lapse to engine racing
in 2014. He competed for Ravaglia’s group in a Blancpain GT Sprint
Series – this time in a BMW Z4 GT3. “We eliminated all we had
grown for a BMW 320i to a BMW Z4 GT3. It all worked
perfectly,” says Zanardi. One of a few differences was that he no
longer altered gears regulating a H gearbox, though around change paddles on the
steering wheel.


However, resources afterwards resulted in another large step forward: in
2015, Zanardi raced alongside Timo Glock (GER) and Bruno Spengler
(CAN) in a 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL). He was now sharing
a cockpit with other drivers – and a BMW engineers were faced with
a charge of modifying a BMW Z4 GT3 to concede both Zanardi and his
non-physically marred team-mates to expostulate a car. The outcome was a
“very, unequivocally crafty solution,” to quote Zanardi.


“I showed a engineers in Munich my synthetic leg, that is a
vale tube, and suggested that we could reinstate a stop pedal with
a system, in that a kind of pin was slid into a prosthesis,” the
Italian reports. “They embraced a thought and grown a unequivocally thin
stop pedal for me, that was propitious to a unequivocally right of a pedal
box. Timo and Bruno used a normal accelerator and stop pedals in
a center of a pedal box.”


The dual stop pedals were related and altered simultaneously. The clutch
pedal was also private totally from a pedal box and transposed with
a clutch-by-wire system. This complement was tranquil regulating dual clutch
paddles. Instead of a purchase pedal, a footrest was propitious to the
left of a pedal box for Zanardi. This gave his physique additional support
when braking. Zanardi’s steering circle was also totally new during Spa.
It was formed on a steering circle he had used formerly in a BMW
Z4 GT3, though had been optimised in many areas.



When Zanardi finished his entrance in a BMW M6 GT3 in 2016, a complement was
softened nonetheless further. The purchase actuator was transposed by a
fully-automatic centrifugal clutch, that was grown by ZF, Premium
Partner of BMW M Motorsport. This opens and closes automatically during a
certain engine speed and need no longer be operated by a driver. For
Zanardi, a complement has a vital advantage that he no longer needs to
work a purchase push with one of his hands.


However, that is not a usually reason that Zanardi is tender by the
centrifugal clutch: “It is startling how good this resource works.
This purchase is intensely reliable. The wear is minimal and so there
are fewer problems with this resolution than with a customary clutch.
Since we commissioned it in a car, it has finished a pursuit ideally for
us. When we set off again after a array stop, it is unfit to
box a engine. Plus, it doesn’t matter either a tyres are cold
or warm. Whenever we set off, this purchase can conduct a hold –
substantially improved than a customary system.”


Zanardi’s entrance in a mutated BMW M6 GT3 was a good success: he
took a highly-acclaimed feat in Sunday’s competition during a deteriorate finale
of a Italian GT Championship during Mugello (ITA).



“The complement we had in place during that indicate authorised me to be quick,
even for a series of laps. But to be honest, it was unequivocally difficult
to lay in a automobile for a prolonged time, to unequivocally be of any assistance to
my group over a generation of a 24-hour race,” says Zanardi. As he has
no legs, he lacks critical extremities, that assistance to cold a body
by blood circulation. Furthermore, a close-fitting shafts of
his synthetic legs do not concede any perspiration: “Every time I
climbed out of a car, we was entirely baked through.”


It was transparent to Zanardi that he would be means to expostulate for distant longer
and feel some-more gentle in a automobile though his prostheses. As such,
he sat down with a BMW M Motorsport engineers in Munich and came up
with a totally new system: a system, that would concede Zanardi to
work all with his arms and hands. This would have been an
emanate in a BMW 320i in 2003, due to a H gearbox, however, the
difficult delivery in today’s GT competition cars and a now established
centrifugal purchase non-stop adult new possibilities. This was initially
tested in a BMW M6 GT3 and afterwards given a initial poison test, that it
upheld with drifting colours when Zanardi finished a guest coming in the
DTM during a circle of a BMW M4 DTM during Misano in Aug 2018. All of
this was heading adult to one goal: Zanardi’s start in a BMW M8 GTE at
a 24 Hours of Daytona.


The stop pedal was transposed by a stop lever, that Zanardi pushes
brazen with his right arm. This is mounted on a delivery tunnel
and connected to a brake. Zanardi accelerates regulating a stifle ring
on a steering wheel, that he primarily operates with his left
hand. He can change rigging regulating a change paddle on a steering wheel.
At a same time, a switch is also trustworthy to a stop lever, with
that he can change down by a gears when braking into corners.


Thanks to a palm braking complement in a BMW M8 GTE, a physical
problems Zanardi has struggled with in a past are no longer an
issue. “If a regulations authorised it, we could do a 24-hour competition on my
possess now,” he says, chuckling. “I am unequivocally gentle in a car
though my synthetic legs. It is apparently a small bit more
complicated, since we have so most to do with my arms and hands – but
from a earthy indicate of perspective it is like marker and cheese.”


Passion is a key.

From a initial drafts in 2003 to a palm braking complement in a BMW
M8 GTE – growth never stands still in a Zanardi project. For
a Italian, being means to expostulate a GT competition automobile though his prostheses
is like “winning a race”. However, Zanardi is penetrating to highlight that
nothing of this would have been probable though a untiring efforts of
a BMW M Motorsport engineers: “It apparently takes ability and bid –
though above all that, we need passion. When a engineers are taking
their work behind home with them to their families, that shows how
ardent they are. What we have here is a outcome of an enormous
volume of joining and passion, joined with measureless expertise.”


The palm braking complement in a BMW M8 GTE also opens “a new
dimension,” he emphasised. “BMW has introduced another genuine innovation
with this. This complement also works for others. Anyone who is incompetent to
use their legs though has dual arms could expostulate this car.”


When he wanted to competition again after his crash, he was met with great
scepticism. That would not be a box currently – and Zanardi and BMW M
Motorsport have been instrumental in changing this attitude: “It has
been a prolonged road, though we trust that what we have achieved has also
combined new possibilities for others. No longer does anyone ask
either a infirm motorist can race. Take Frederic Sausset: he had both
his legs and arms amputated and still raced in a 24 Hours of Le Mans
in 2016. Or Billy Monger. The usually thing people wish to know nowadays
is how good a motorist we are. Disabilities do not matter, as they know
that we can overcome them with special solutions.”


An overview of Alessandro Zanardi’s pushing systems.


BMW 320i and BMW 320si (2003-2009): Modified brake
pedal, trustworthy to a synthetic leg; steering circle with ring for
accelerating; gears altered regulating H rigging lever, operated with right hand


BMW Z4 GT3 – Blancpain GT Series (2014): Modified
stop pedal, trustworthy to a synthetic leg; steering circle with ring
for accelerating; gears altered regulating change paddles on steering wheel


BMW Z4 GT3 – 24h Spa (2015): New, unequivocally skinny brake
pedal combined to a pedal box and extrinsic into a prosthetic leg like
a pin; steering circle with ring for accelerating; gears altered using
change paddles on steering wheel; clutch-by-wire complement with purchase paddles


BMW M6 GT3 (2016): Thin stop pedal, identical to 24h
Spa; steering circle with ring for accelerating; gears altered using
change paddles on steering wheel; newly-developed centrifugal clutch


BMW M4 DTM and BMW M8 GTE (2018-2019): Hand-operated
stop push for braking; steering circle with ring for accelerating;
upshift around paddle on steering wheel, downshift around symbol on brake
lever, centrifugal clutch