51-year-old Italian Alessandro Zanardi will make his début in the DTM at the event in Italy in August when he races a specially adapted BMW M4 DTM in a guest entry.
Zanardi, who lost both of his legs in an accident in the 2001 IndyCar race at the Lausitzring, has already had experience racing an adapted BMW touring car, having driven for the manufacturer in the European and World Touring Car Championship between 2004 and 2009.
In recent years the Italian has focussed on his hand cycling career, but he also tested a DTM car for BMW in 2012 when he got behind the wheel of an M3 DTM.
“I feel like a kid in a candy store and massively look forward to racing the BMW M4 DTM at Misano,” said Zanardi. “As a motor-racing enthusiast I had planned to definitely make the trip to Misano and attend the first DTM night races in the history of the sport.
“But to now be in the cockpit and contest the races myself is just fantastic.”
ITR Chairman Gerhard Berger says that having a famous name such as Zanardi on the grid for the DTM’s return to Italy will be a boost to the series.
“We are really delighted with having the chance of welcoming such a famous guest driver on the DTM grid, at Misano,” said Berger. “Alex Zanardi is extremely popular – and not only in his home country Italy.
“His extraordinarily impressive performances as athlete, his imperturbable optimism and his humanity stick out far beyond the sport and already inspired millions all over the world.
“Alex never displays a half-hearted approach – far from it. As we know him, he also will prepare highly professionally and with maximum ambition for his DTM guest appearance to deliver in great style, in front of his home crowd. Welcome in DTM, dear Alex!”