home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


January 27, 2019

Alex Zanardi

Daytona Beach, Florida

ALEX ZANARDI: Delivering a performance that was good enough not to ruin the team's expectations, and I think I was able to do that, so I'm personally proud of what I did. Unfortunately, motor racing, it's a tough business, and at times even when you are very well prepared, and I believe we were, something can happen, and I just feel so sorry for all the engineers and all the people who had put up such hard work and such hard preparation.
But as I said, it's motorsports, and sometimes it can happen.

Q. What was it like out there today and this morning? I know you drove a little bit in the rain when they were doing some yellows. What was that like?
ALEX ZANARDI: Difficult, very difficult, no doubt about it, because to say it was slippery, it's‑‑ it just doesn't give the idea of how tough it was to keep the car on the road. Even behind the safety car at times you could get‑‑ you could lose the car, and yeah, it was just very, very difficult. When we finally went for the restart, it was so foggy down the straight, it was really difficult to see where I was going. There were people checking the throttle just because of that reason, and that, of course, cleared another reason of danger because you could bump into someone who had decided to not go to the speed you would expect him to travel.
So it was, of course, very, very difficult, but evidently once more this race proved that all the people involved are professional by any means, and I mean, yeah, we had some accidents, but in reality, we had much less than I was expecting because this‑‑ I mean, I've been around a long time, but this was definitely one of the toughest conditions I've ever experienced myself in my racing career.

Q. This might have been the first time for many folks living in North America to have seen you compete, possibly be inspired by what you do. For those who might be in wheelchairs or otherwise, outside of what you've done here in the car, can you share any stories or thoughts about feedback you've received from those who you've inspired who are in their wheelchairs and maybe might want to start competing?
ALEX ZANARDI: Well, thank you. In reality, it's difficult for me to take over from where you left because that was not really a question, it was more a suggestion, and I bump into a lot of people who had to overcome adversity and did not have the same opportunity that I luckily have, who their name is not Zanardi. But believe me, I've seen a lot of people who were surprised, sadly surprised by life, having to face and to overcome some sort of adversity, but nevertheless reacting with a lot of tenacity, with a lot of enthusiasm, with a lot of love and affection for life itself, because life is a great opportunity, and theoretically, you wouldn't want to waste any second of it. Then when something like this shakes you and it's kind of normal that you have a period of time where you say, boy, why me; what am I going to do now. And this may take longer to end person to person.
Personally I was very lucky because I'm a guy who is very optimistic, who had the right opportunity, who had the right people. I had the right people around me because even my wife, you know, when everybody back in Germany were kind of using her shoulder to lean on and to cry instead of supporting, she decided to call BMW to order a car with hand controls, because they said, I'm sorry, I don't have that at the dealer available, it will take some time. And I tell you, it was quite important for me when I got home to have my car there ready so I could focus on something and at least start immediately, never stop.
But again, you know, I used what I had, and I think that's what you have to do. So the type of advice I can give is do what you can. It's as simple as this, because it's true that being named Alex Zanardi makes a big difference, but there was days where being named Alex Zanardi was simply being the son of Dino and Anna, two great parents who gave me the greatest gift they could give me, the education I received, and my dad always told me, hey, son, you know what, if you have a dream in your life, well, treat it as a dream but also try to move towards it because there may be one day where you become so close where you can turn that dream into a realistic objective. And the only way you're going to do that is do in every given day what you can. And one day it's going to be a big thing, one day it's going to be a small one, but you take a step forward.
So this is the advice I can give. Then everything else I have done thanks to the support of BMW we've done together.
Of course it may be seen from people as a great‑‑ I wouldn't say inspiration because it's too much, it's not up to me to say this, but for sure a great reference point, you know, where you say, boy, if they did that, I can do that, also, you know. And it doesn't necessarily have to be motorsports. You just may take this to say, if that guy had an interest in going back racing in spite of what happened and he achieved that, wow, I have an interest for doing something else, and at least I can try to organize things in a way where I can forecast whether it's possible or not. And if it is technically possible, why shouldn't I try. It's as simple as this.

Q. You didn't have an easy race, so to speak. I mean, you really had your challenges, and I guess for somebody like you, challenge is relative, right, but could you just talk about it? This was a race that presented some challenges that you had to overcome and the race in general.
ALEX ZANARDI: I don't know. I mean, there were days where‑‑ your question actually brought me back in time to my mid‑'90s when I was competing here in the United States, and in fact, I'm very proud of the fact that I won twice the championship in IndyCars. But actually if I have to tell you honestly, out of my memories, what does it stand above all as the best ones, I would certainly mention the race in Long Beach when I was a lap down and I came back, and Cleveland or Laguna Seca, you know, when everything has gone wrong and somehow you find a way to turn everything around.
Some of the things that we were hoping for did not happen this weekend, but as a team, we won the race, and I'm very, very happy for Augusto, Fillipp, Colton and Connor personally because they did a terrific job, but I'm certainly very, very happy for team BMW RLL because I'm part of it, and I was very, very proud to be part of the team for a weekend.
So you say‑‑ yeah, we did overcome some of the obstacles that we had over the course of the race. Unfortunately we had a last problem because I think we were already‑‑ from eight laps down to three laps down, and what happened was toward the end of the race, I think anything would have been possible, you know.
We tried. That's the most important thing. It didn't work the way we were hoping for, but I'm certainly going home very happy.

Q. You made the Rolex 24 unfortunately under very poor weather conditions. Is there another endurance race on your wish list you would like to drive?
ALEX ZANARDI: Maybe Daytona, because it didn't go the way I was hoping for. But I want to give you a piece of advice, gentlemen. Today it rained like hell, and this is nobody's fault. Just the good Lord that was not very keen with us. But maybe to repave some of the corners, yeah, that for next year can be done, because there are some places where really it would just take very little to repave and take that gloss away, because like Turn 6, it was like driving on glass. It was incredible.
No, but besides all, today was really beyond any limit. I've never seen so much rain falling from the sky, and I think all in all, I appreciate the effort‑‑ besides kidding, I really appreciate the effort of all the marshals, all the people working so hard to get us a circuit that was safe enough to drive.
Yeah, as usual, you guys did a terrific job.

Q. Going back to your CART days, this legendary race in Laguna Seca was a picture of a pass against Bryan Herta. Where does it rank in your personal memory?
ALEX ZANARDI: Not number one, because there I have to admit, as I did then, that I was very lucky. My plan was quite different. I didn't mean to go so close to the wall. I saw the holy mother crossing my road on a bicycle. I got so scared. But I was lucky that day.
So yeah, for sure is the episode which certainly changed my racing career and my life because after that, yeah, lots of things changed in my life personally. But I have to admit once more that I was brave, brave enough to try it, and also a little lucky to get away with it.

Q. (No microphone.)
ALEX ZANARDI: I know, and I'm very proud of the fact that you just dialed the past, and that's what it comes.

Q. When it's all over, what do you feel most? Is it satisfaction that you completed this? Is it enjoyment from competing again in this manner? Is it the inspiration you provide to others? And do you think this project ultimately sparked others into thinking that their lives are not over by setbacks?
ALEX ZANARDI: The question was originally how do I think, and I should start saying bittersweet, but in reality it's by far more sweet than bitter, because of course from the sports point of view a little bitter. We were aiming for a result which I believe was technically achievable. The team was very strong, as strong as 25, but you know, as I said, it's racing, and we initially had that bad obstacle that put us eight laps down and then was a rush to try to get back, not to the lead lap but halfway into the race we were only three laps down, so it was certainly possible to change everything around once more.
The speed was there. It was not a question of not having the speed to deliver. And had we come back to the lead lap, who knows, maybe we would have been in the situation to‑‑ maybe not, because quite frankly‑‑ I don't know. Personally, I think even if I had 10 legs, I wouldn't have been able to do what Augusto did in the last two hours. To me, it's amazing, and I told this two days ago; I said, Augusto, what you did in Macao, where he won the FIA World GT Cup, in my eyes, it's as big as Lewis Hamilton winning the world championship, the Formula1 world championship. I know it's only in my eyes, but I think what you did was amazing. And I just told him, what you did today, it's even more than what you did then.
He really drove the hell out of that car, and yeah, congratulations to the entire team, but of course he was the one crossing the ideal line because there was no line to cross today. And then I forgot what your question was. Oh, yes.

Q. What are you most proud of?
ALEX ZANARDI: Well, I'm proud of the quotes, the comments, the love, the affection, the fact that I've been already saying all the things I could say and you're still asking me questions because that means you want to know more, and your enthusiasm is what is really hitting me in the nicest way.
The same thing you're offering me, it's what I got from all the fans, all the people that stopped me and all the people who keep telling me how inspiration my story is. I don't know whether I can answer that question, do you think that this will inspire other people. I hope so, but it's not up to me to say because it would be like saying that's what I came here for.
In the end of the day, I came here because I thought it was technically impossible to do what we did together, and had I not believed it possible, I don't think‑‑ I mean, I at least start racing after what happened.
So there's no sense of like surprise for me when I win a race because if I would not think I could win a race, I wouldn't even try to do so.
Having said that, I never felt, even when I had my legs underneath me, I never felt like the most gifted or the best driver in the field. I knew I was good enough to win races at every level if I was given the right equipment because that happened through the course of my whole career, at every level I competed. It happened that I won some races.
So I'm still the same guy. Probably the main obstacles for me to overcome these days is more related to my age rather than to my personal disability.
But yeah, if people‑‑ if someone can receive some type of inspiration from what I do, it fills my heart with pride. But I can only raise my hand and say thank you and carry on on my journey, because again I'm not here to act as an old from anyone. I'm just a very curious guy who has a lot of possibility, and you say, why do you do this. Why shouldn't I? I'm having a lot of fun doing what I'm doing.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297