Paralympic gold hero confirms participation in Brands Hatch sportscar race

News Shopper: Alex Zanardi Alex Zanardi

TOP-LINE sportscar racing will return to Brands Hatch for the first time in 18 years when the Blancpain GT series arrives in north Kent in May.

The event is being held on May 17 and 18 and will feature the motor racing return of double Paralympic gold medallist Alex Zanardi.

Formerly known as FIA GT, the Blancpain GT series will take place on the full 2.4-mile Grand Prix layout.

The world’s leading manufacturers participate in the series and last year saw supercar entries representing Audi, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, Porsche, Lamborghini, Nissan and Chevrolet.

Blancpain GT also attracts some of the world’s best drivers, with multiple world rally champion Sebastian Loeb racing for his own team in 2013.

This year, former F1 and Indycar driver Zanardi will race a BMW Z4 GT3 at Brands Hatch, scene of his double gold medal-winning success in the 2012 Paralympic Games.

“I don’t want to sound too excited, but it was at least as good as I could have dreamt it would be,” said Zanardi after testing the car for the ROAL squad, with whom he competed in the world touring car championship.

“The car is so nice to drive and I am back with a team where I am meeting a lot of old friends. The BMW Z4 GT3 is a lot of fun.

“It is powerful and it suits my natural driving style quite well.”

The Blancpain GT series round will feature two one-hour sprint-style races on the Sunday.

These will include mandatory pitstops, which feature driver changes.

Zanardi, however, will be allowed to compete solo, since his car has been adapted to use hand-operated controls.

In addition to the Blancpain GT series races, spectators can enjoy a packed support bill, which includes the BRDC Formula 4 championship, GT Cup and radical European masters.

The event will also feature a huge supercar display, free pit walk and giant TV screens showing all of the action.

Tickets for the Blancpain GT Series at Brands Hatch on May 17 and 18 are available from £21, with free entry for children aged 12 and under.

For more information call 0843 453 9000 or visit brandshatch.co.uk

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