Zanardi gets F1 test five years after losing legs

MUNICH, Germany -- Alex Zanardi will return to Formula One
next month in a test drive with BMW Sauber after losing his legs in
a horrific crash five years ago.

Zanardi drove 41 races in Formula One, the last in 1999 with
Williams. Despite twice winning the CART season tittle, his best
finish in an F1 race was sixth place. He will drive the modified
BMW-Sauber on Nov. 24-26 in Valencia, Spain.

"Of course, I know that I won't get a contract with the Formula
One team," the 40-year-old Zanardi said. "However, having the
chance to drive an F1 racer again is just incredible."

He has been driving for BMW in the World Touring Car
Championship, winning twice.

Zanardi became a double amputee after his 2001 crash in
Klettwitz during the American Memorial 500, a CART race.

"With an unprecedented show of will and dedication, he fought
his way back into motor racing and now proves in the WTCC that he is
able to win races at the highest level," BMW Motorsports director
Mario Theissen said.

"It was rather a joke when he asked me at the beginning of the
year if he could do an F1 test with us," Theissen added. "We will
give him this chance now. The engineers made it possible. I cannot
wait to watch his reaction after the test."

Zanardi returned to the German track 3½ years ago and drove 13
"ceremonial laps" in a modified car, reaching speeds of 195 mph
before a CART race.