Ganassi and Vasser to run Zanardi at Indy - Probably not UPDATE #2 With the latest rumor having Zanardi trying to land a DTM ride, IndyCar appears to be out.
09/18/12 This rumor is downgraded to 'speculation' today. If Zanardi runs DTM next year as the rumor below suggests, a DTM race is always scheduled on either Indy 500 qualifying weekend or on race weekend.
09/05/12 If the news of Alex Zanardi's triumph in the Men's Individual H 4 Time Trial event at the 2012 London Paralympic games wasn't enough of a thrill on Wednesday, SPEED.com has confirmed two of the 45-year-old Italian's closest friends are working to enter him at the 2013 Indianapolis 500.
“He told a reporter yesterday for me to watch out because he wants to race at the Indy 500 next year," said Jimmy Vasser, who co-owns the KV Racing IZOD IndyCar Series team and drove with Zanardi at Target Chip Ganassi Racing from 1996-1998.
"And he wasn’t kidding and that’s not how we’re taking it. I’ve got to get him in a car at Indy next year,” Vasser said emphatically. “I spoke to Chip [Ganassi] and said we need to make it happen between the two of us before somebody else steps in to run him; he belongs driving for me or Chip or in a car we run together. I’m serious. Stay tuned.”
Ganassi told SPEED.com he and Vasser have only just started to discuss what it will take to run Zanardi at Indy 500--an event he missed due to the split between CART and the Indy Racing League--but remains optimistic it will come to fruition.
"I'd sure like to do it and I wouldn't want him doing it with anybody else," he said, echoing Vasser's sentiment. "Right now, it's just talk, but I would think you could get a lot of support for it."
Ganassi also said that if it happens, it would need to involve a proper testing plan prior to running at Indy.
"It has been a lot of years since he's been in a formula car, so you couldn't just show up and run him," he remarked. "You've got the fitness and figuring everything out and making it work, provided it happens, to consider before you go around Indy."
The man in charge of the Brickyard told SPEED.com he'd welcome the chance to see Zanardi in action at the Indy 500.
“Alex Zanardi is a role model to everyone, inside and out of motorsports,” said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and chief executive officer.
“He is a champion in everything he does, including winning a gold medal this week in the Paralympics. We wish him the best of luck as he sets more goals for his future. He would be a wonderful addition to the Indianapolis 500, and his participation would excite and inspire everyone who loves this great event.” More at Speed.com