The 49-year-old Italian is heading to the 2016 Paralympics to defend the hand-cycling gold and silver medals he won at London 2012. He clearly loves hand-cycling – he has also taken part in the world championships, New York Marathon and Ironman world championships – just as he still clearly loves his motor sport, despite the fact that it nearly killed him.
He says the accident – in the 2001 American Memorial race, at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, Germany – was perhaps “the greatest opportunity of my life because it has given me so many opportunities. In principle I am someone who is very lucky.”
Only Alex Zanardi, who lost both legs in the horrific smash, could say something like that. With prosthetics he designed himself, he was back in a racing car just two years after the crash, driving (and winning races) in a specially modified BMW in the world touring championships until 2009. The former F1 driver and double CART champion has been in and out of race cars ever since.
Once he had escaped the FOS crowds – for whom he always seems to have time – Alex arrived at the Drivers’ Club where GRR sat down with him to discuss, well, a bit of everything really.