Alex Zanardi says he would like to contest next year's Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The idea of the Italian competing in the round-the-clock race was first mooted in 2006, with Zanardi proposing the idea to leading Grand-Am team boss Chip Ganassi, with whom Zanardi won two Champ Car crowns in 1997 and '98. Zanardi said the Daytona plan was resurrected when he attended the team's 22nd birthday celebrations in Minneapolis.
"I really want to go motor racing again, I miss clutching the steering wheel of a racing car," Zanardi told Autosprint. "I've just returned from Minneapolis where Target, sponsors of the Ganassi team with whom I raced in CART, invited me to the celebrations for the team's 22nd birthday.
"It was great, because I found myself, among others, with [Jimmy] Vasser, [Juan Pablo] Montoya, [Dario] Franchitti and [Scott] Dixon: all together we've given the Target Ganassi team nine titles in CART and IndyCar, plus Dixon's, Montoya's and Franchitti's victories in the Indy 500 and the Daytona 24 Hours. While talking about the latter, the idea of doing it all together popped up again: five champions from the outfit reunited in the same team.
"At the moment it's just an idea we all like; nothing is programmed yet. But the conditions would be there next year and I'm certain that BMW and Target would be ready to support such an operation, because it would be a nice story to tell: five champions in the same team, the friendship that has always tied us, my return to racing in the United States, the interest for the technical solutions that allow me to drive a racing car and for the driver switching operations."
Zanardi said a Daytona entry was now more plausible for him than it had been when first proposed in 2007, and that his recent visit to the U.S. showed interest would be high, with team boss Ganassi already expressing his enthusiasm.
"Everyone had his own commitments, there weren't the right conditions," Zanardi said of his 2007 plans. "Plus, as far as I was concerned, back then the Ganassi team was using Lexus engines, while I was in the WTCC with BMW, with whom I'm still linked. However, for the last two years, team Ganassi has also switched to BMW engines."
Asked whether he had spoken to Ganassi, Zanardi replied: "Yes we have. While on the celebrations stage he replied, 'Let's do it'. But I repeat, it's just an idea at the moment. Let's talk about it again after the Paralympics."