“It is impressive what we achieved,” said Zanardi. “You have to bear in mind that, as well as the usual driver changeover, we must also swap the steering wheel. We consistently achieved that in under 20 seconds, and a few times we even managed the changeover in about 15 seconds. When you observe how quickly a ‘normal’ driver like Jesse jumps out of the car, it is a bit different when you then see somebody like me getting out. Undo the harness, remove the steering wheel, pass it to somebody and jump out of the car – all in less than three seconds. Then turn around, wait until Jesse is in, climb back into the car, hook my leg into the frame, help Jesse with the radio and harness, pass him the other steering wheel, close the net and get away from the car…It is really impressive and looks a bit like a dance. We will now continue to work on perfecting the driver changeover.”
Also at Miramas was Nathalie McGloin, President of the newly-formed “FIA Disability and Accessibility Commission”. She used the visit to speak to Zanardi and BMW M Motorsport about opportunities for physically impaired racing drivers.
BMW M Motorsport is working closely with the FIA, ACO and IMSA to gain approval for a car adapted to Zanardi’s needs for GTE races.