When Zanardi makes his guest appearance in the DTM at Misano, he will have a newly-developed hand-operated brake system at his disposal for the first time. This replaces the combination of brake pedal with a permanently attached artificial leg, which Zanardi has used to brake on his previous outings in BMW race cars. The advantage of this new system is that it requires less effort and is thus far easier to operate. The brake lever is located to the driver’s right, in the centre console area. The brake lines have been extended and laid from the footwell to this lever. As a result, the pedal box, with the throttle, brake and clutch pedals, is no longer necessary. The footwell in Zanardi’s BMW M4 DTM is empty. The large brake cylinder has been adjusted slightly, meaning Zanardi need not apply quite as much pressure by hand as a regular DTM driver must with his foot to achieve the required braking effect. Where a regular driver must apply 100 to 120 kilograms of pressure, a maximum 70 kilograms is sufficient for Zanardi.
As well as the size of the brake cylinder, the improved leverage of the handbrake lever also makes the whole braking procedure easier. For the new system to work, the BMW Motorsport engineers turned the operating principle of the brake cylinder on its head. While the brake pedal in a normal BMW M4 DTM exerts tensile force on the brake cylinder, the handbrake lever in Zanardi’s car applies pressure to the cylinder. As with every BMW M4 DTM, Zanardi’s car also has a parking brake, which is used to build up preload pressure to allow the fastest possible start. Like his fellow BMW drivers, Zanardi can operate this parking brake via a button on the steering wheel. However, he can also mechanically activate and release the parking brake via a lever on his handbrake. This also allows him to prevent the car from rolling.